Refinement of Scleral Flap Biopsies for Autologous RPE Transplantation
A number of different approaches are being pursued for treating CNV, which leads to the wet form of AMD. One alternative is surgical removal of the choroidal layer, but current procedures for doing so usually fail to improve vision. Previous studies, including last year's MDR-sponsored study, have shown that part of the problem is that CNV excision also results in loss of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells required to maintain the photoreceptor cells. Without the RPE, photoreceptor cells die. Some scientists have attempted to solve this problem by performing RPE transplants. As in many cases of tissue transplantation, rejection of the donor tissue can pose a problem. Dr. Zarbin is working to develop a peripheral RPE biopsy technique that would allow an individual's own RPE cells to be used, thereby avoiding the problem of tissue rejection. This technique is being developed in pigs in the hope that it can then be used successfully in humans.