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Stem Cell Therapy Could Provide Cure for AMD in Five Years

L Institute of Ophthalmology and director on the London Project, said the new therapy, that involves using stem cells, can only improve success of what has already been achieved.

The London Project aims to deliver treatment for a disease which has no alternative therapy. Using stem cells which are far more adaptable can only improve success of what has already been achieved and in addition establish this as a global therapy, he said.

This is achievable as a result of bringing together a number of groups who previously were trying to solve the same problem in isolation. The Project aims to engage scientists, clinicians and the public to ensure success through actively attracting and promoting the inclusion of other laboratories, hospitals and institutions by an open access policy and by informing the public of progress, he added.

Dr Lyndon Da Cruz, lead clinician and consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Moorfields Eye Hospital, said that the trial was important as it would try to find a cure to a hitherto untreatable condition.

The Project is important as it develops a cellular based therapy for a currently untreatable condition. The beauty of this Project is that there are three specialist groups working in parallel; a team in Sheffield, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, he said.

Working in conjunction, they will be respectively safety testing the cells in Sheffield, confirming that the cells are RPE cells and preparing them in a form for transplant at the Institute of Ophthalmology, and developing the strategies for the surgery and patient selection based on studies on transplanting autologous RPE (i.e. cells from the patients' own eyes) at Moorfields.

By driving these in parallel it is felt that the development time will be significantly reduced. Given that AMD could affect up to one third of the population by 2070, and that the bulk of these will have
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