The first patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells have regained reading vision.
The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness and could lead to an ‘off-the-shelf’ treatment within five years.
Published in Nature Biotech, the study described the implantation of a specially engineered patch of retinal pigment epithelium cells derived from stem cells to treat people with sudden severe sight loss from wet AMD. It is hoped that it will also help treat dry AMD in the future.
It’s the first description of a complete engineered tissue that has been successfully used in this way. The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness, a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK, and can lead to a rapid loss of central (reading) vision. The two patients who underwent the procedure, a woman in her early 60s and a man in his 80s, had the severe form of the condition (wet AMD) and declining vision.