January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

stem cells macular degeneration

2 min read

Masayo Takahashi is a leading stem cell researcher doing translational and clinical research on vision. She’s doing pioneering work on using pluripotent stem cells as a basis for helping patients with vision loss such as due to macular degeneration. She won The Niche’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award in 2014 and a number of other awards. Last week I did a post on some exciting new clinical trial work starting here in the US by the NIH/NEI, and that sparked a great …Read More

3 min read

The NIH announced the launch of the 1st autologous induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell trial for vision loss in the U.S., focused on macular degeneration. The protocol is based on a solid foundation of pre-clinical animal studies: “Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) are launching a clinical trial to test the safety of a novel patient-specific stem cell-based therapy to treat geographic atrophy, the advanced “dry” form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 65 and …Read More

4 min read

Back in 2013, a half dozen years ago, I went out on a limb and made predictions for the stem cell field for 2020. These are different than my yearly predictions for the coming year (for instance, you can see my predictions made in 2018 for this year of 2019 here). As to my 2013 predictions, of course, it’s only 2019 and not yet 2020, but how are my old predictions looking at this point? I can’t be sure how they’ll look next year …Read More

3 min read

With stem cells for vision loss, first we want to be sure a treatment won’t make things worse. Several teams around the globe are rigorously studying stem cell-based approaches to vision loss via regulatory-compliant studies including for macular degeneration with some results cautiously upbeat on safety from early phase analyses, but data from a new study on the use of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs) for macular degeneration are concerning in some ways. The paper in the AAO Journal from a …Read More

5 min read

There’s a lot going on in Florida with non-FDA approved stem cell offerings even just related to stem cells for vision problems alone, but while US Stem Cell has drawn the most attention related to patient allegations of severe vision loss in Florida after fat stem cell injections in eyes, another group I’ll loosely call the “SCOTS Trial” has also been injecting investigational stem cells (in this case from bone marrow) into patients’ eyes and some patients have made allegations of harm there too in …Read More

2 min read

Where do things stand with IPS cell translational research? The newest development is that regulators in Japan just have given conditional approval to an Osaka University team to an induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell-based study for ischemic heart disease. For years IPS cell-based products have been on-again off-again in active clinical study for macular degeneration, work led by Dr. Masayo Takahashi. The new heart disease study is led by Yoshiki Sawa. This appears to be the third conditionally approved IPS cell study in Japan. I’m not …Read More

3 min read

Do stem cells for vision loss offer real hope? I believe so, but it’s a long road and must be done right. A new paper in this area generated some buzz on top of an earlier recent pub (mentioned in this post) just a week or so ago about the potential of stem cells for vision loss. The new paper is entitled, “A bioengineered retinal pigment epithelial monolayer for advanced, dry age-related macular degeneration” and is Kashani, et al. They generated special eye cells called retinal …Read More

3 min read

A team of researchers at RIKEN and Kobe City Medical Center reported at a press conference today a serious adverse event in a clinical trial participant receiving an induced pluripotent stem cell (IPS cell)-based therapy for vision loss. According to Japan Times and Yahoo! Japan (in Japanese), the patient in question in the IPS cell trial for macular degeneration developed a problem with his eye following the cell transplant. From Yahoo! Japan: “The patient had an operation on Monday to remove pre-retinal membrane, deemed to …Read More

3 min read

It’s stem cell day! Or more accurately, it is stem cell awareness day. It’s a good time to think about where our field stands and where we’ll be in 10 years. Below, I’ve outlined 10 for 10: 10 things to ponder about stem cells in a 10-year timeframe. Approved Therapies. How many new stem cell therapies will be approved as safe and effective in 10 years? I hope at least 10! These may include proven transformative regenerative medicine treatments for macular degeneration, Type 1 …Read More

2 min read

Late in 2015, one of the pioneering stem cell and regenerative medicine biotechs, Ocata Therapeutics (fka as ACT or Advanced Cell Technology) was acquired by Astellas Pharma. At the time of purchase, Ocata had a number of areas of focus, but was most closely followed for its development of human embryonic stem cell-based retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs) for treatment of multiple kinds of macular degeneration. These products were advancing in promising clinical trials and had demonstrated good safety profiles. After the purchase of Ocata by …Read More