Patient-Specific Stem Cells for Studies of Glaucoma
Dr. Meyer and colleagues are developing stem cells from individual patients with glaucoma that can be used to develop the cell types that are lost due to this disease. The researchers are using these cells to study specific features of glaucoma and obtain ideas to develop future patient-specific retina cell replacement therapies.
Dr. Meyer and colleagues will obtain stem cells from patients with glaucoma in order to study the disease on a cellular level. They aim to genetically reprogram adult cells such as skin cells from each patient so as to develop a unique type of stem cell known as "induced pluripotent stem cells" or "iPS” cells. These cells become “unspecified,” that is, they can be guided to develop into any cell type of the body, including those eye cells that are affected by glaucoma. To identify inherited factors underlying this disease, these iPS cells will be established from patients with a genetic predisposition to developing glaucoma. The researchers will also use the iPS cells to screen new glaucoma drugs.
Once this study is complete, it is foreseeable that Meyer and colleagues will have established a new system using patient-specific cells that can be used for future pharmacological developments.