* I think this is a very important step toward a treatment for AMD.*
The first patients to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with the wet form of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) have regained reading vision.
Age-related Macular Degeneration is a chronic eye disease that affects the part of the retina responsible for your central vision (the macula). The disease is one of the most common causes of vision loss in older adults. Macular degeneration typically causes blurred or distorted vision or a blind spot in the center of your visual field. It doesn’t affect your side (peripheral) vision.
As part of a U.K. Clinical trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, two patients received an experimental new treatment with stem cells. The nature of stem cells means that they can grow to become any type of cell in the human body.
The treatment involved surgery to replace diseased cells at the back of the eye. For the first time Doctors have been able to take a completely engineered cell and successfully make it into a specific part of the eye that is failing and put it back in the eye, under the retina and get vision back.
The study by the London Project to Cure Blindness, a partnership between Professor Pete Coffey, University College London and Professor Lyndon da Cruz, retinal surgeon at Moorfield Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The patients were monitored for 12 months after the 2 hour surgery. They went from not being able to read at all, even with reading glasses to reading 60 to 80 words per minute with normal reading glasses. Researchers say the study, published in Nature Biotech, is promising, it is still in the early stages. More research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness. There is hope that a treatment will be available to patients in the next 5 years.
The team behind the research now has permission to test the process on eight other patients and will be monitoring further cases for rejection.