In the Future? Stem Cell Patch for Vision Loss Shows Some Success in UCSB’s Clinical Trial
Two patients suffering from vision loss caused by AMD have regained some of their sight thanks to a stem cell-based retinal patch.
A woman in her 60s and a man in his 80s, both with severe vision loss from the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, are seeing significant improvements in vision after having retinal patches implanted in the back of their retinas. The patches were engineered from embryonic stem cells.
The two AMD patients are part of a Phase 1 clinical trial being conducted by researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital in the UK, in a collaboration with Moorfield.
The trial successfully treated 10 patients, albeit with some “adverse events.” A 12-monthfollow-up study of two of these patients—the man and the woman—reported that they were now able to read 60 to 80 words a minute with normal reading glasses after having not been able to read at all.
This is the first time that stem-cell based retinal patches have been used to replace damaged cells in the retina. The researchers will continue to monitor the patients for five years to make sure the treatment is safe.