StemCells Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the initiation of a Phase I/II clinical trial of the Company’s proprietary HuCNS-SC® product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common form of AMD. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over 55 years of age, and approximately 30 million people worldwide are afflicted with the disease. There are no approved treatments for dry AMD.
“With the approval of this trial, we have accomplished something truly unique in the stem cell field, which
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Nerve stem cell transplants may help slow the progression of macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the developed world, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They said putting nerve stem cells from StemCells Inc near the retinas of rats with a form of macular degeneration helped keep the disease from advancing to blindness for several months.
“These cells improve the chemical environment in the back of the eye,” said Ray Lund of the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, whose findings were presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.
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Madison, Wisconsin – Soon, some treatments for blinding eye diseases might be developed and tested using retina-like tissues produced from the patient’s own skin, thanks to a series of discoveries reported by a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researchers.
The team, led by stem cell scientist and ophthalmologist Dr. David Gamm of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and former UW scientist Dr. Jason Meyer, used human embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to generate three-dimensional structures that are similar to those present at the earliest stages of retinal
Deep in the brain, buried in the hippocampus and subventricular zone, reside adult neural stem cells, cells that retain the ability to become other types of neural cells and could serve as possible treatments for ailments ranging from vision impairment to Parkinson’s to spinal cord injuries. Doctors, scientists and patients, however, are understandably hesitant to go digging around for them, their location being “a great deterrent,” Sally Temple, founder of the New York Neural Stem Cell Institute, said at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit here on Wednesday.
Researchers, therefore, are anxious to uncover other, more accessible neural stem cell
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Scientists genetically “reprogrammed” human skin cells to possess the same properties as those that make up the retina.
The process involved first turning them into pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, which have the potential to develop into virtually every kind of tissue in the body.
By exposing the IPS cells to a specific cocktail of chemicals, the scientists then caused them to grow into partially developed retina cells – the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye which transmit nerve signals to the brain.
Although the work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is