Study suggests stem cells may repair dying retinal cells

January 21, 2016, Karolinska Institutet
eye

Researchers at St. Erik Eye Hospital and Karolinska Institutet have for the first time successfully transplanted human retinal pigment epithelial cells derived from stem cells into eyes that are similar to human eyes. The researchers have developed a unique method of creating mature cells differentiated from embryonic stem cells. When transplanted into the retina of human-like animals, the cells protected against experimental macular degeneration.

The study is published in Stem Cell Reports.

The most common cause of central visual acuity and reading vision loss among older people in the Western world is the widespread age-related disease . The eye disease results when the supporting cells behind the retina, the " epithelium" cells, slowly die, causing the that support vision – the rods and cones – to die as well. The disease has two forms: a wet and a dry form. The wet form can now be halted with drugs, but 90 per cent of patients have the dry form, which currently has no effective treatment.

"Our results suggest that stem cell treatment may help patients with the dry, and so far untreatable, form of macular degeneration," says Anders Kvanta, Senior Consultant at St. Erik Eye Hospital and Adjunct Professor at Karolinska Institutet, which performed the study together with stem cell researchers Outi Hovatta and Fredrik Lanner.

Explore further: Study provides hope for some human stem cell therapies

More information: Alvaro Plaza Reyes et al. Xeno-Free and Defined Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Functionally Integrate in a Large-Eyed Preclinical Model, Stem Cell Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.11.008

Related Stories

Study provides hope for some human stem cell therapies

August 20, 2015
An international team of scientists headed by biologists at UC San Diego has discovered that an important class of stem cells known as human "induced pluripotent stem cells," or iPSCs, which are derived from an individual's ...

Stem cell injection may soon reverse vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration

April 14, 2015
An injection of stem cells into the eye may soon slow or reverse the effects of early-stage age-related macular degeneration, according to new research from scientists at Cedars-Sinai. Currently, there is no treatment that ...

Researchers successfully transplant human stem cells into monkey models with eye disease

December 22, 2015
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan is reporting that they have successfully transplanted tissue derived from human embryonic stem cells into monkey models of the eye disease, ...

First embryonic stem cell therapy safety trial in Asian patients

April 30, 2015
A clinical trial in the Republic of Korea for patients with degenerative eye diseases is the first to test the safety of an embryonic stem cell therapy for people of Asian descent. The study, which followed four individuals ...

New studies question the treatment of female infertility with stem cells

November 3, 2015
It has been claimed that a treatment for female infertility will be available by stem cell therapy. But a new study by Swedish researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institutet published in Nature Medicine ...

First patients enroll in US stem cell trials on blindness

June 16, 2011
The first clinical trials that examine the use of stem cells to treat two forms of blindness are ready to begin now that patients have been enrolled, a US company announced on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Age-related increase in estrogen may cause common men's hernia

October 16, 2018
An age-related increase in estrogen may be the culprit behind inguinal hernias, a condition common among elderly men that often requires corrective surgery, according to a Northwestern Medicine study was published Oct. 15 ...

New findings cast light on lymphatic system, key player in human health

October 16, 2018
Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have broken new ground in understanding how the lymphatic system works, potentially opening the door for future therapies.

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Discovery of inner ear function may improve diagnosis of hearing impairment

October 15, 2018
Results from a research study published in Nature Communications show how the inner ear processes speech, something that has until now been unknown. The authors of the report include researchers from Linköping University, ...

Team's study reveals hidden lives of medical biomarkers

October 12, 2018
What do medical biomarkers do on evenings and weekends, when they might be considered off the clock?

Widespread errors in 'proofreading' cause inherited blindness

October 12, 2018
Mistakes in "proofreading" the genetic code of retinal cells is the cause of a form of inherited blindness, retinitis pigmentosa (RP) caused by mutations in splicing factors.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.