Thanks for the question.
"Macular degeneration is loss of straight-ahead or central vision
caused by deterioration of a portion of the inner back lining of the
eye known as the retina, where the macula is located."
L V Prasad Eye Institute
"Stem cells, derived from the patient or donors, act as repair agents
within the body, multiplying continuously to replenish other cells.
Limbal stem cells are being used at LVPEI to repair cornea surface
disorders caused by limbal stem cells deficiencies. Says Dr Geeta K
Vemuganti, head of stem cell laboratory, ?In cases where the limbus is
damaged and there is a deficiency leading to corneal opacity and
finally resulting in blindness, stem cells emerge as promising
"Research at the L V Prasad Eye Institute investigates the major
causes of blindness and examines possible new lines of treatment that
can be adopted to alleviate these conditions. Research at LVPEI can be
viewed as a three-pronged activity that looks into:
The causes of various diseases;
Early detection of diseases so that their progression can be arrested
or cured; and
Improved treatment techniques and better instruments to minister the
effects of diseases
In recent years, the Institute has become a premier site for clinical
trials conducted by international health care agencies and companies:
Cornea, Glaucoma, Retina, Uveitis, Multi-centric drug trials"
"Diseases and Disorders of the Retina
Retinal disorders are the most difficult ocular conditions to treat.
Besides genetic factors, senescence or age-related degeneration of the
retina and its macula occur and there is no chemical or
pharmacological therapy available to counter them effectively. Much of
the treatment is focussed on managing the disease and stopping its
"Researchers in India have used adult stem cells in the successful
treatment of over 160 patients with damaged retinas. The announcement
was made by Dr D Balasubramaniam, director of Hyderabad s L V Prasad
Eye Institute, who was speaking at a science conference in Ahmedabad.
The team based in Hyderabad have been using adult stem cells for
several years. What is exciting is the extent of their success. While
so many researchers from around the world remain fixated by failed
attempts to use stem cells from embryos, scientists in Hyderabad have
been forging ahead in returning sight to the blind.
The procedure pioneered by Indian researchers involves the removal of
adult stem cells from the limbic region of the patients own eyes.
These stem cells are then used to reconstruct damage regions,
including the retina and the cornea. "
Other research involving Stem Cell research in finding cures for
retinal diseases and macular degeneration:
Martin Friedlander, M.D., Ph.D.
Martin Friedlander is an associate professor in the Department of Cell
Biology and the chief of the Retina Service in the Division of
Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, at Scripps Clinic.:
"Currently, there is no way to treat patients with retinitis
pigmentosa and no way even to slow the disease, says Friedlander, who
is an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and the
chief of the Retina Service in the Division of Ophthalmology,
Department of Surgery, at Scripps Clinic. Friedlander has had a
longstanding research program looking for new and better ways of
treating eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration,
diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa.
The next step, says Friedlander, would be to perform additional
preclinical studies aimed at determining dosage and possible
toxicities of a treatment based on this research and then taking the
approach into clinical trials.
?The clinical paradigm is novel and, frankly, we were very surprised
at the results,? says Friedlander. The data suggests that it might be
possible to use a patient?s own bone marrow-derived stem cells to
provide a protective effect in a variety of retinal degeneration
diseases including retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.? "
"In May, a $500,000 supplement for technology enhancement was awarded
to Friedlander for one of his grants from the National Eye Institute.
These funds were used to purchase a new Maldi-TOF spectrometer and
additional imaging equipment to further expand resources available to
TSRI and UCSD vision researchers already working together through the
Core Grant for Vision Research. "
"Stem Cells Delivered Into The Back Of The Eye Hold Promise For People
Pigmentosa And Other Retinal Degenerations. A team of researchers from
The Scripps Research Institute was able to preserve visual function in
mice that were genetically predisposed to developing a profound
degenerative disease that destroys their retinas. "
Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology. Univeristy of Toronto
"One of the newest breakthroughs in stem cell research and vision
involves successful implantation of eye stem cells from human cadavers
into the eyes of chicks and mice.
Research reported by the University of Toronto at the National Academy
of Sciences in fall 2004 showed that human stem cells developed into
appropriate light-sensitive (photoreceptor) cells within the animals?
inner back portion of the eye (retina) where images are processed. In
other words, normal animal eyes were formed in part from human stem
"The research has implications for future treatment of degenerative
eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration but
that?s still a long way off, says Coles. She, van der Kooy and their
colleagues are now exploring whether retinal stem cells from healthy
mice continue to develop into photoreceptor cells and RPE cells when
transplanted to mice with diseased eyes.
?We?re starting with mice to see if they can overcome the genetics
involved in disease,? says Coles. ?The eye itself is telling the stem
cells what to do, so when we go to a disease model, it is important to
know what those signals from the eye are so we can inhibit them or
protect the cells.?"
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI)
"The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) has selected 12 young
scientists working in a wide range of research to be its first seed
Each grant recipient will receive $150,000 over a two-year period. The
grants will support research aimed at advancing the understanding of
stem cell biology and developing new therapeutic approaches to several
diseases, among them cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, muscle disease,
Parkinson's disease, and retinal blindness. Five of the 12 projects
will involve human embryonic stem cells, including using or creating
new stem cell lines that are not eligible for federal funding. "
"For the first time researchers have shown that transplanted stem
cells can preserve and improve vision in eyes damaged by retinal
disease. In the cover article in the November 2004 Investigative
Ophthalmology and Visual Science, scientists from Harvard's Schepens
Eye Research Institute describe results of a mouse study in which
transplanted stem cells develop into retinal cells, prevent the death
of "at risk" retina cells in the recipient mice and improve the vision
of treated mice.
"These findings hold great promise for potential treatments for people
suffering from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other
retinal diseases," says Michael Young, PhD, an assistant scientist at
Schepens Eye Research Institute and the lead author of the study."
Please let me know if you need further information.
Search Engine Used: Google
Search Terms Used: