Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Stem Cell Success

One big piece of medical news this week was the first indication of potentially successful therapeutic use of human embryonic stem cells.  According to the paper published in the Lancet, researchers wanted to test the safety of injected the stem cells into the eyes of patients who have suffered significant vision lost due to age related macular degeneration, AMD, for short.

Specifically, they used retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) derived from the stem cells, because of the potential for these cells to replace the healthy eye cells that have deteriorated or damaged by AMD.  To the reported surprise of the researchers, not only have the injected RPEs been well tolerated by the two patients, but both women have actually reported vision improvements since the procedure. Continue reading