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Stem Cell Trial for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Receives Approval

Posted Jan 22 2011 12:38am
Posted on 2011-01-19 06:00:00 in Age-related Macular Degeneration | Sensory | Stem Cell Research |

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness for people age 55-plus in the Western world. Dry AMD is the most common form, the progression of which involves a breakdown or thinning of the layer of retinal pigment epithelial cells in the eye’s macula, the region at the center of the retina responsible for high acuity vision. Over time, the progressive loss of retinal pigment epithelial cells and accompanying loss of photoreceptors can cause severe vision loss and blindness. Advanced Cell Technology (Massachusetts, USA) has received clearance to begin a phase I/II trial of a human embryonic stem cell (ESC) therapy involving 12 patients with dry AMD.  Patients will receive implants of 50,000 to 200,000 retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from the company's embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines. While the initial portion of the clinical trial will focus on safety, researchers hope to demonstrate that the retinal pigment epithelial cells injected into the retinal space will be capable of slowing or halting progression of dry AMD, and potentially restore some visual acuity to patients.

“Advanced Cell Technology Receives FDA Clearance For Clinical Trials Using Embryonic Stem Cells to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration” (Press Release),  Advanced Cell Technology Inc., January 3, 2011.

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