Effects of ECM Ligands on RPE Reattachment to Bruch's
The purpose of this study is to identify conditions that will increase the chance that transplanted RPE cells will attach to and subsequently grow on Bruch's membrane in age-related macular degeneration patients. Dr. Del Priore is coating samples of a material that will help to stick the cells to the surface and thus increase the chances of cell survival. These experiments are being done using small pieces of Bruch' s membrane from eye bank donor eyes that have been affected by macular degeneration. Dr. Del Priore's goal is to seed human RPE cells onto diseased human Bruch's membranes and have them repopulate the membrane. He hopes to determine if coating the uppermost and deeper layers of diseased human Bruch's membrane with sticky molecules will increase the initial attachment rate, growth rate and spreading rate of transplanted human RPE cells and promote the subsequent ability of these cells to repopulate this layer. He will then determine if coating these layers with a thin film of sticky material synthesized by the cells themselves (ECM, or "extracellular matrix") will do the same thing. The long-term goal of these studies is to determine the ideal conditions for enhancing retinal pigment transplantation for the treatment of age related macular degeneration. This project is a continuation of the previously funded study by the same name, commenced in 1999.