Cells For Sight


CFS Stem Cell Facility Manufactures Pioneering AMD Therapy

24 February 2016


 The Cells for Sight (CFS) cell therapy manufacturing team at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, are proud to be supporting The London Project to Cure Blindness led by Professor Pete Coffey and Pfizer Inc, in a clinical trial aimed at testing the safety and efficacy of a novel therapy for patients blinded by ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration of the retina.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34384073.

The first patient has been treated using a manufactured patch of human embryonic stem cell (h-ESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells, the patch was manufactured and released from the CFS facility under their Investigation Medicinal Products license issued by the Medicines and Heathcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and transplanted at Moorfields Eye Hospital. The initial clinical outcome is anticipated at the end of this year, and a further 9 patients are to be treated to complete the trial over the next 18 months.

CFS has played a critical support role in the project over the last 6 years, working with Professor Coffey, his team and Pfizer, to ensure the effective translation of their ground breaking research into pre-clinical studies, scale-up of cell manufacture and delivery of cells for the first of 10 patients in the clinical trial.   

Professor Julie Daniels, Director of CFS, said of the trial:

‘Treatment of the first patient is a truly significant milestone to have reached and the culmination of many years of careful and rigorous research and development’.

Professor Sir Peng Khaw, Director NIHR BRC at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said: 

'We are so pleased the first patients have been treated with this innovative therapy developed in partnership with so many differed stakeholders including Pfizer, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Trustees and Eye Charity, and other philanthropic support. They have provided the infrastructural support for the Cells for Sight cell therapy manufacturing team without which, this would not have been possible. We hope this is the first of several life changing therapies arising from the Cells for Sight cell therapy manufacturing team who have played such a critical role in this project'.

CFS was the UK’s first MHRA accredited cultured cell therapy manufacturing facility. It has been manufacturing and delivering stem cell therapies to patients since 2004. Since this time CFS have successfully maintained its regulatory licenses (MHRA and Human Tissue Authority) manufacturing a range of products from hESC to adult stem cell grafts derived from oral and limbal tissue. To date CFS have manufactured stem cell grafts to treat patients at Moorfields Eye Hospital with blinding eye disorders and are proud of the role they play in pushing novel therapies ever nearer to routine treatments.  CFS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research and charitable donations.