Cell therapy was effectively used for enhancement of vision in patients. Embryonic stem cells of human were employed for the therapy. Advanced Cell Technology was developed that helped in treatment of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is considered to be one of the main causes that brings to blindness of person. The retina is damaged and the patient is not able to see the details or recognize faces. Visual impairment worsens with time.
It is a real breakthrough and became a good contribution to regenerative medicine. This is the opinion of Dr. Steven D. Schwartz from University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes on retina treatment.
Two patients were treated with the use of this new method. The condition of both patients considerably improved. It is worth noting that they were previously officially blind. Now these patients have enhancements that are very important for them. One of the women, who was treated, stated that she could do shopping on her own, while the other reported that she discerns the colors and even threaded the needle!
There is a huge interest to this field and the treatment of eye diseases, in particular. According to the plan, 24 patients must be treated with embryonic stem cell therapy. There is some controversy here because, creating stem cell, the experts destruct the human embryos.
Embryonic stem cells were used to create retinal pigment epithelial cells. They are required to thwart the destruction of macula, which is the retina's central part. When specialists do not stop the process, the straight-ahead vision can be lost. That means that the person will lose the ability to read and watch TV.
During the operation that lasted half an hour 50 thousand cells were implanted to both patients. The cells were implanted under the retinas.
One of the ladies is over 70. She suffered from dry form of macular degeneration that developed because of age. The other lady is 51 and suffered from macular dystrophy. These eye diseases are not treated with medications.
The experts called the results obtained encouraging. The injected cells haven't caused any trouble for the patients.
One of the women has definite improvements, but it is possible that the other one just experiences the placebo effect. The matter is that the vision in the second eye in this patient improved as well. Therefore it remains to be seen what will come of it.
The experiment continues and bigger amount of cells are going to be implanted in the future.