Retinal Stem Cells for Transplantation in Macular Degeneration
Normal vision relies on the function of cells called cone photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells. In patients with AMD these cells die. Current treatments are effective in slowing down AMD, but they do not reverse the degeneration that has already occurred. To restore normal vision, these lost cells will need to be replaced. Stem cell therapy offers the promise of an inexhaustible supply of retinal cells that can be used for transplant into eyes affected by AMD. These researchers have shown that isolated retinal stem cells can generate cone photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells. When these retinal stem cells are transplanted into mouse eyes, they are able to integrate into the host retina and develop correctly. In this study, the researchers will isolate mouse adult retinal stem cells and enrich them for cone photoreceptors by manipulating specific cellular pathways as through a cell sorting technique. They will also test the ability of transplanted adult retinal stem cells to restore vision in mice that lack functioning cone photoreceptors.
First published on: June 10, 2008
Last modified on: June 11, 2008