UK-based biotech company ReNeuron have developed a potential stem cell-based cure for an inherited form of blindness, according to an article in the UK Newspaper The Daily Mail.
The new treatment focuses on a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which gradually reduces vision over time. ReNeuron’s treatment involves repairing damaged retinas by injecting laboratory-prepared “progenitor” stem cells into the patient’s eyeball, where they develop into the light-sensitive cells required by the eyeball to process light and restore sight in the patient.
The initial results are based on a study of three people who were diagnosed as legally blind prior to treatment, based on the size of letters that they could identify on a standard chart. Post-treatment, all subjects could identify letters of significantly smaller sizes
UK-Based charity Retina UK provides support for patients with genetic-related sight loss via conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa. Representative Tina Houlihan said “These early results are encouraging and will provide hope to those living with retinitis pigmentosa.”
Grace Century President and Director of Research Scott Wolf commented “This study represents the early stages of this particular treatment and there is a long way to go before it can be regarded as a long-term cure for blindness, however once again it is stem cells at the centre of research for innovative new treatments providing hope patients all over the world”.