Research presented at the virtual Association Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting describes positive responses in people living with Geographic Atrophy who received retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells grown from human embryonic stem cells; cells which have the capacity to grow into many different cell-types and are being increasingly used in studies to replace damaged or died within the body and restore normal function. RPE cells are essential for healthy vision as they have a key role in nourishing the light-sensitive retinal layer to support and maintain high-quality vision.
Patients who received the transplant therapy are reported to have experienced beneficial structural and clinical changes, including a reduction in drusen accumulation (a fatty substance and primary feature of dry AMD), delayed progression of Geographic Atrophy and signs of possible restoration of the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells and RPE layer.
According to Christopher D. Riemann, MD who presented this research at the virtual ARVO conference, there is evidence “to suggest the presence and durability of the transplanted RPE cells” and comes as a source of hope and optimism for people living with Geographic Atrophy, that the first treatment will be developed and made available in the near future.
The full article is available to read here:
- Riemann CD, et al. Phase I/IIa clinical trial of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE, OpRegen) transplantation in advanced dry form age-related macular degeneration (AMD): interim results. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting; May 6, 2020 (virtual meeting).