CELL THERAPY AND CELL TRANSPLANTATION
In recent years we have made a lot of progress
towards the successful application of stem cell therapy. We know
that we can isolate promising stem cells from various tissues in
animal eye and culture these in the laboratory. We have also shown
that if we have cells in the right stage of development, they will
integrate into adult retina and make the right connections with
the retina. We know that these integrated cells are active because
we can regain light sensitivity in retinas of mice with RP.
form a stepping stone, but before this therapy can be considered
for patients, we will need to achieve several more goals:
1. We will need to link up our two sets of results;
we have to induce differentiation in our cultured stem cells to
get them to the correct stage for integration in the retina.
2. We have to optimise the integration of cells
into the retina. At the moment only a small proportion of the injected
cells integrates into the retina. Although this does confer light
sensitivity in the mouse, it is unlikely to result in visual acuity.
If the integration process can be improved, we may be able to restore
3. We have to show we can isolate human stem cells
from the various eye tissues and culture and differentiate them
similar to the stem cells from animal origin.
4. We have to show that the injection of stem cells
in the eye can be done safely before treatment of patients can be
It is difficult
to predict how long it will take to optimise the differentiation
and integration processes, but it is likely that it will require
considerable time before stem cell therapy trials can be considered.
This page last modified
18 December, 2012