Restoring vision in AMD may be a possibility with stem cell transplantation.
Given the high incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—with some 10 to 11 million patients affected, 2 million of which have severe visual loss—the need for treatments to restore vision is clear.
Stem cell therapies are among those treatments considered as potentially viable to treat degenerative diseases include direct replacement of host cells and more commonly secretion of trophic factors that facilitate survival of the existing cells. Rajesh Rao, MD, pointed out that there is a wider indication despite mutations in gene therapy that potentially can be applied across the diverse degenerative diseases especially in the presence of extensive cell loss.
The candidates for transplantation include pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and autologous cells such as those originating in the adipose tissue, bone marrow, and fetal cells and all have been transplanted into patients with varying degrees of success as well as controversy, according to Dr. Rao, the Leonard G. Miller Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The procedures to perform the transplantation include a standard vitrectomy, intraocular surgery, or introduction of the cells through the suprachoroidal space.
Rajesh Rao, MD
Dr. Rao has no financial interest in any aspect of this report.