Stem Cell Technique to Treat AMD

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stem Cell Therapy

In what could bring cheers to the elderly people, UK surgeons have transplanted embryonic stem cells that have been developed into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells into the eye of a 60-year-old woman suffering from ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The surgery is a big step in reversing vision loss that appears with age.

Doctors for the surgery seeded a tiny patch with specialised eye cells and implanted it at the back of the retina of the woman. The surgery was the first of the ten planned surgeries to treat AMD. Doctors described the surgery as being successful. However, they will have to wait until Christmas to comment on how good the woman’s vision is after surgery.

RPE are a layer of cells that support photoreceptors in the macula – the part that supports vision. AMD causes RPE cells to die and as a result the eye loses vision. AMD usually comes in two forms- dry and wet. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into a region in the centre of the retina. AMD usually affects people above 50 and it is responsible for almost 50 percent vision loss case in the developed world. 


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