Stem Cell Treatment for Macular Degeneration

A stem cell treatment for macular degeneration may be on the horizon.  British scientists have indicated they will seek approval to conduct human trials of an embryonic stem cell therapy for macular degeneration – the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 65 and older.

This announcement to seek approval comes shortly after the United States gave approval for human trials using embryonic stem cells.

According to Pete Coffey of the University College of London, the US decision to approve the trial using human stem cells to treat paralysis was great news, clearing the way for having the human stem cell treatment for macular degeneration approved.  “It clearly gives a lot of direction to our regulars.  It is a precedent of sorts,” Coffey had stated, when talking about the decision to seek approval for this macular degeneration stem cell treatment.

Coffey and his colleagues have already used embryonic stem cells to grow retinal pigment epithelium cells.  These are the cells that are destroyed when a person is diagnosed with having macular degeneration.  Using the developed stem cell therapy, Coffey has been able to show promise in reversing the damage caused by macular degeneration in animals.

Before this stem cell treatment for macular degeneration can be approved for human trials, Coffey and his colleagues must finalize the safety data.  Approval must be given from the Human Tissue Authority, the Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency,and the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee before the macular degeneration stem cell therapy can be tested on humans.

During the initial stages of testing, the researchers have indicated they will be concentrating on the dry form of macular degeneration.  This form of the eye disease affects approximately 90 percent of the suffers and has no viable drug treatment and no cure.

This stem cell treatment for macular degeneration that is on the horizon should be seen by those people suffering from the disease as a major announcement.