Genetics     Mechanisms of Cell Loss     Gene Therapy     Stem Cell Therapy    

Stem Cell Therapy

There is an increasingly urgent need to explore new strategies for the treatment of retinal degenerative disease which are able to regenerate lost cells in such a way as to restore vision. The use of stem cells in such diseases is especially attractive as it may provide us with the ability not only to halt disease progression but also reverse the loss of function through replacement of lost photoreceptors. The challenges are enormous, particularly as little is known regarding the temporal sequence of both intrinsic and extrinsic signals required to drive a stem cell into a photoreceptor. This problem is further compounded in the central nervous system (CNS) where grafted cells also need to develop complex connections with surrounding cells in order to reconstitute function. Nevertheless, because of the restorative potential of stem cell therapy, especially in neurodegenerative diseases, the anticipated therapeutic rewards are enormous.
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