Navigation Links
Stem cell therapy shows promise for rescuing deteriorating vision

For the millions of Americans whose vision is slowly ebbing due to degenerative diseases of the eye, the lowly neural progenitor cell may be riding to the rescue.

In a study in rats, neural progenitor cells derived from human fetal stem cells have been shown to protect the vision of animals with degenerative eye disease similar to the kinds of diseases that afflict humans. The new study appears today (March 28) in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

The lead author of the study, University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher David Gamm, says the cells - formative brain cells that arise in early development - show "some of the best rescue, functionally and anatomically" of any such work to date. In animals whose vision would typically be lost to degenerative retinal disease, the cells were shown to protect vision and the cells in the eye that underpin sight.

The new findings are important because they suggest there may be novel ways to preserve vision in the context of degenerative diseases for which there are now no effective treatments. Macular degeneration, an age-related affliction that gradually destroys central vision, is a scourge of old age, robbing people of the ability to read, recognize faces and live independently.

The finding that the brain cells protected the cells in the eye was a surprise, according to Raymond D. Lund, an author of the new study and an eye disease expert at the University of Utah and the Oregon Health and Sciences University. The neural progenitor cells, which arise from stem cells and further differentiate into different types of cells found in the central nervous system, were being tested for their ability to deliver another agent, a growth factor that has been shown to be effective in treating some types of degenerative disease.

What was surprising, say Gamm and Lund, was that the cells alone demonstrated a remarkable ability to rescue vision.

"On their own, they w ere able to support retinal cells and keep them alive," says Lund, who has conducted pioneering studies of cell therapy for eye disease. "We didn't expect that at all. We've used a number of different cell types from different sources and these have given us the best results we've ever got."

How the cells act to preserve the deteriorating eye cells remains unknown, says Gamm. Like all cells, neural progenitor cells do many things and secrete many different types of chemicals that may influence the cells around them.

"The idea was to test the cells as a continuous delivery system" to shuttle an agent known as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor or GDNF, Lund explains. "It's not a sensible thing to inject the eyes many times over years. The idea was to use the cells as a continuous delivery system, but we found they work quite well on their own."

Lund has experimented with other cell types as therapies for preserving vision. The neural progenitor cells, a cell model developed by Wisconsin stem cell researcher Clive Svendsen, have been used experimentally to deliver the same growth factor in models of Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease. Svendsen is also an author of the new PloS One report.

"It seems that the cells in and of themselves are quite neuroprotective," says Gamm. "They don't become retinal cells. They maintain their own identity, but they migrate within the outer and inner retina" where they seem to confer some protection to the light-sensing cells that typically die in the course of degenerative eye disease.

For researchers, the work is intriguing because the progenitor cells come from the brain itself, and not from the part of the nervous system devoted to vision.

"This cell type isn't derived from the retina. It is derived from the brain," says Gamm. "But we're not asking it to become a retina. They survive in the environment of the eye and don't disrupt the local architecture . They seem to live in a symbiotic relation ship" with retinal cells.

Gamm and Lund emphasize that the new work is preliminary, and that much remains to be done before the cells can be tested in humans: "The first thing is to show that something works, which we have done," says Lund. "Now we need to find out why, but this is a good jumping off point. "


'"/>

Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison


Related biology news :

1. Adding Radiation Therapy To Chemotherapy Improves Survival In Patients With High-risk Breast Cancer
2. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
3. Combination therapy boosts effectiveness of telomere-directed cancer cell death
4. Gene therapy converts dead bone graft to new, living tissue
5. Study identifies predictors of HIV drug resistance in patients beginning triple therapy
6. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
7. Muscle-targeted gene therapy reverses rare muscular dystrophy in mice
8. New therapy for HIV/AIDS eliminates needles and excessive toxicity
9. New Treatment Rivals Chemotherapy For Lymphoma, Study Finds
10. Gene therapy for Parkinsons disease moves forward in animals
11. Pulsating ultrasound enhances gene therapy for tumors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid ... setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to ... leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track ... and body mass index, and, when they opt in, ... convenient visit to a local retail location at no ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 2016 --> --> ... Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry ... the global digital door lock systems market in terms of ... is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during ... medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston Business ... fastest-growing private companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The list ... change in revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award comes ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 03, ... ... and NeuroTech NYC , the sensor and data driven conferences, will take ... include:, UnitedHealth's Vidya Raman-Tangella on incorporating technology -- ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Angeles, Calif (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 ... ... of industry leading fertility clinics and IVF laboratories. A contingency of reproductive endocrinologists, ... to treat men and women experiencing infertility and to help them build families. ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... on the pre-launch success of their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The ... trap, and play with their food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats ...
Breaking Biology Technology: