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Dennis Clegg; Stem cell strategies for retinal disease. Journal of Vision 2014;14(15):3. doi: 10.1167/14.15.3.
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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness, and treatments are limited for the non-exudative form. As AMD progresses, the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) in the macula lose function or die, resulting in photoreceptor loss. An exciting new direction is to use RPE derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to replace RPE and preserve photoreceptors. One clinical trial that employs a bolus injection of hESC-RPE cells is already underway. A more sophisticated approach is to implant differentiated, polarized monolayers of hESC-RPE on a scaffold, whereby cells are provided with a supportive substrate. We will present recent using this strategy for the treatment of dry AMD. Strategies that combine scaffolds with ocular cells derived from pluripotent stem cells are likely to have broad application for a variety of ocular diseases and injuries.
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