New Stem Cell Therapy Trial Approved

Another human embryotic stem cell therapy has been approved for clinical trials.

Advanced Cell Technology Inc. announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the Phase I/II trial of retinal cells for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy patients. This condition is a childhood form of macular degeneration. The disease causes gradual, painless loss of sight.

Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology explained that “the treatment for eye diseases uses stem cells to re-create a type of cell in the retina that supports the photoreceptors needed for vision. These cells, called retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), are often the first to die off in Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.”

Twelve patients will be participating in the trials at various locations throughout the country. These include the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon, the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and the New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

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