Navigation Links
Progress Seen in Creating Eye Cells From Stem Cells
Date:3/24/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- To push the theoretical promise of stem cell research into the world of viable treatments, scientists have successfully fashioned adult stem cells into the kind of eye cells that fall victim to the onset of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

The work did not involve embryonic stem cells, which have been the subject of much debate in recent years, but rather so-called "human-induced pluripotent stem cells." The aim, according to the researchers, was to develop a therapeutic response to the death, caused by AMD, of retinal pigment epithelium, a cell layer that is critical to the health of the retina's vision cells.

But the researchers, from the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., stress that this was a preliminary move toward that goal, achieved solely in a laboratory setting. They say that numerous complex obstacles must be tackled before such newly created cells could be transplanted into diseased eyes.

"But we have shown that we are able to generate retinal cells from cells originally taken from a small amount of biopsied skin, that are then induced to become stem cells," noted Nady Golestaneh, an assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology at Georgetown, and a co-author of a report on the research, published in the March 24 issue of Stem Cells. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"The retinal cells we have generated are really functional," Golestaneh explained. "That means they mimic the function of native retinal cells that play a key role in the eye for light absorption, nutrition and receptor function."

That's important "because, if these cells die, they can induce disease in the eye, one of which is age-related macular degeneration," she said. "Until now, there has not been any medication that can stop this disease. So basically these people lose their central vision, which we need to do daily tasks like reading, driving or anything that you need to do to be independent."

In the United States, AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among people 60 and older.

Dr. Demetrios Vavvas, an attending physician in the retina service of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, described the research results as a "major step forward."

"But this is still very early work," Vavvas noted. "This has been achieved only in-vitro. It is in-lab work with cell cultures. So it's still a question how this will work in person because there are still hurdles that need to be overcome," he added.

"For example, all of this work so far needs viruses to function as cell carriers, and this creates problems," he explained. "So, people are now trying to see if they can replicate this kind of lab work without the use of viruses. That will have to happen before we can go to human trials. And we're not there yet," Vavvas said.

"With the current know-how and technology, we're probably talking a minimum of three to five years before we can even go to clinical trials," he pointed out.

The researchers used a line of adult stem cells that had been a relied-upon source for lab research. They said that the differentiation process that prodded the stem cell stock to develop into retinal cells equivalent to those damaged by AMD took many weeks of high-tech culturing, but ultimately the stem cell-generated retinal cells exhibited the same functional capacity and gene expression as naturally occurring retinal cells, the researchers reported.

However, they cautioned that the cell line they generated also appeared to display DNA chromosomal damage, aspects of over-expression that prompted growth inhibition and some structural abnormalities.

Though the generated cells were deemed "viable," the researchers said that more work would be needed to render them "safe" for treatment purposes.

"But when we talk about the potential use of stem cells, we shouldn't only think about transplantation," Golestaneh said. "They could also be used as an in-vitro model to study the disease itself in the lab -- their function, their impairment, gene mutations. That would help to generate targeted drugs to cure the disease."

That makes the cells "very valuable not only for transplantation but also to study the mechanism of the disease and advance drug development," Golestaneh said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on age-related macular degeneration.

SOURCES: Nady Golestaneh, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington D.C.; Demetrios Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D., attending physician, retina service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and assistant professor, ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; March 24, 2011, Stem Cells


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study examines whether lower blood pressure reduces kidney disease progression
2. Study seeks to halt progression of diabetic nephropathy
3. Trial suggests statin may affect markers associated with progression of HIV
4. Everolimus improves progression-free survival for patients with rare pancreatic cancer
5. High levels of circulating DNA may signal faster progression of lung cancer
6. Progress Reported in Predicting Alzheimers
7. Walking slows progression of Alzheimers
8. New STD Report Finds Some Progress, High Costs for U.S.
9. New indicator found for rapidly progressing form of deadly lung disease
10. Insufficient vitamin D levels in CLL patients linked to cancer progression and death
11. Stereotactic radiotherapy slows pancreatic cancer progression for inoperable patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Progress Seen in Creating Eye Cells From Stem Cells
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... certification process to promote standards of excellence for the field of eating disorders, ... March 22 – 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the ... national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps ... provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting ... Day Market. Featuring a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the ... and quality-focused health and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Abilene, Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... publication this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books ... seems like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, ... formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics ... new brand, which included the unveiling of new signage ... , as well as at a few other company-owned ... new brand to patients, some of whom will begin ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... , Sept. 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion ... notable awards. Ranked as number one in the South Florida ... time in Inc. 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy ... Armando Bardisa will soon be honored by SFBJ ... Set to receive his award in ...
(Date:9/22/2017)...  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves is ... (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical device ... industry is in an odd place.  The industry wants ... tax on medical device sales passed along with the ... increased visits and hospital customers with the funding to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: