Recent research published by the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden have successfully grown retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells using embryonic stem cells and presents itself as a very promising approach for growing RPE cells which can be transplanted into the retina and integrate to restore normal vision.

Age-Related macular degeneration is a progressive and disabling eye condition which affects the the central part of the retina, called the macula and causes gradual decline in central vision. AMD exists in two forms, neovascular or wet AMD and dry AMD (Geographic Atrophy). Dry AMD is characterised by damage and degeneration of the photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in the retina, as well as the underlying capillaries in the underlying choroid layer. At present, there is no treatment or cure available for dry AMD. Therefore, transplanting stem-cell derived RPE cells to replace the damaged RPE cells is a very promising strategy.

RPE cells were successfully grown from embryonic stem-cells and genetically-modified using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to ensure that the transplanted cells will not be rejected by the body’s immune system. This research is expected to enter clinical trial to assess the safety and ability of the transplanted RPE cells to restore visual acuity.

News Medical Life Sciences have written an article about this research and is available to read here:

New method to treat blindness using retinal cell production


The research article is also available to read through the link provided below:

Identification of cell surface markers and establishment of monolayer differentiation to retinal pigment epithelial cells

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