Stem cells have been used to treat a Yorkshire man, in the first operation of its kind outside the United States.
The man, 34, suffers from an inherited ailment called Stargardt’s disease which causes degeneration of the eye. During the operation 50,000 retinal eye cells were injected into one eye. The Lancet medical journal has published a paper about two US patients who underwent similar surgery with encouraging results. These patients who had the disease at an advanced stage, saw modest though significant improvements in vision. The long term aim would be to treat patients much earlier and so prevent the degeneration or slow it markedly.
The operation was carried out at Moorfields Hospital in London, a leading eye surgery hospital.
This treatment is not being proposed as a “cure for all blindness”, but is yet another step forward in the use of stem cells to produce significant, and potentially massive, health benefits.
Story from the BBC web site:
- Stem Cells: New Hope for Macular Degeneration (webmd.com)