Researchers have reported a promising new treatment involving stem cells that could see viable treatments for both wet and dry macular degeneration. Until now, the only treatment available for wet macular degeneration has been intravitreal injections of Lucentis, Macugen and Avastin. Dry macular degeneration has no drug treatment and utilized nutritional supplements to slow the progression of the eye disease.
With promising news coming from the University of Washington indicating that an experimental treatment utilizing human stem cells for macular degeneration, new hope is given to people diagnosed with this age-related eye disease. The use of human stem cells may allow for the retina damaged by macular degeneration to repair itself.
Using human stem cells, researchers were able to grow proginitor cells for retinal cells. These were then successfully injected into the damaged retinas of mice where they then developed into cones, rods and other eye cells. Cones are retinal cells for colour and rods are retinal cells used for night vision.
With the advancement of stem cell treatments for eye diseases such as macular degeneration, researchers speculate that human trials using stem cells to repair retinas damaged by macular degeneration may begin within two years.