Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy for Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration has been identified as a leading cause of blindness and vision loss among older people.  Because of better diagnostic techniques in recent years, more and more people are being diagnosed with this eye disease.

Research has turned to both gene therapy and stem cell therapy as potential treatments for macular degeneration.  It has shown promise in several recent clinical trials.

Macular degeneration causes a loss of central vision caused by retinal degeneration.  The severity of the vision loss depends on which type of the eye disease a person has.  Wet macular degeneration caused by the formation of abnormal blood vessels can cause rapid loss of vision while dry macular degeneration resulting from the build-up of drusen deposits is often associated with a gradual loss of vision.

Many of the studies centred around gene therapy and stem cell therapy for macular degeneration are in the early stages.  Companies such as Oxford BioMedica and Advanced Cell Technology are exploring these treatment options but patiens have to be reminded these trials are in their early stages.

Researchers must ensure patient safety and viability of these treatment options given the potential impact these could have on a persons vision.

Arguably, gene therapy is the most elegant approach for treating any retinal disorder, including macular degeneration.

In gene therapy, a patient would receive an injection to correct the underlying genetic.  It has the potential to stop further progression of the disease and in some instances restore vision.  Many have heralded gene therapy as a potential cure for macular degeneration but researchers are hesitant to speak in those terms.

It is hoped diagnostic tests would detect a genetic defect that can then be corrected before any vision loss.

Stem cell therapy being pioneered by Advanced Cell Technology’s treatment has the potential to be come a one-time treatment option for macular degeneration and other retinal disorders as well.

By replacing damaged cells in the eye with stem cells, it is hoped they will work for several years or even a lifetime.  Stem cells have the potential to take on characteristics of any cell in the body and research have shown they can grow into retinal cells.

As research in both these areas advance, it is hoped macular degeneration will be a thing of the past.

Comments

  1. ian s. leafe says:

    shortly both my eyes are due or cataract surgery two weeks apart,my diagnosis is dry type macular degeneraton and i have been instructed to take daily vitalux to create healthier eyes. i am 90 ys of age. and see ok but reading is a problem withe ink saving print thats common in todays books,newspapers. the vitalux upsets my stomach so i hide it in my rawreens with miracle whip i am a chromic arthritic living with pain and #3 tylenol thats the way it goes ith me so now you had a reason to ask and i hope its not a hidden sales pitch, have a nice day oh got any spare cartilage for both myy knees?

  2. SIR,

    I am suffering AMD in both eyes but left eye has a wet AMD . can I inroll for Gene Therapy
    and stem cell therapy for treatment.

    thanks

    • Iwas diagnosed with advanced dry macular degeneration.Wd like to try alternative treatments akupunktur done in germany by Hancke ; chigong energy healing; stemcell treatments; rheopheresis etc. Any advice or experience how to access

      • There is no viable treatment yet for dry macular degeneration. However, research is improving. Currently there is only dietary supplements that are used to help slow the progression.

  3. Dot Claybaugh says:

    Can my husband get stem cell treatments in Canada?

  4. Elaine Kennedy says:

    Do you have any information about PROTANDIM? It is a dietary supplement that is suggested may be good for Macular degeneration. My husband has the wet kind and is getting lucentis shots every month.

    Prortandim is developed at University of Utah. lvdocs@googlegroups.com

    The article I was sent was March 6, 2014 in Free Radical Biology and Medicine online.

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