Saturday, June 18, 2011

New stem cell surgery could help blind people

This was an article off the site and I have an account there. When I see pertinent articles, I post them. Koraling Lynne First patients have stem cells injected into their eyes to test 'cure' for blindness
By Daily Mail ReporterA revolutionary technique that could restore sight to the blind is ready to be tested on people.

Two women will have millions of embryonic stem cells injected into their eyes to try to heal damage done by hereditary disease and age-related macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness in the elderly.

The initial trials will take place in the U.S. but it is hoped British patients will be tested in the autumn. If they all replicate the ‘phenomenal’ results of animal tests, millions of lives could be transformed in the future.

Leading stem cell researcher Robert Lanza found a cocktail of vitamins and chemicals turns the so-called ‘master cells’ into healthy versions of those that are damaged at the back of the eye.

In the next few weeks, a woman in her 70s with AMD and a women in her 20s with Stargardt disease will be treated.

It is likely to take months for vision to improve. If successful, the technique could be widely available in two years.

Dr Lanza, of Massachusetts biotech firm Advanced Cell Technology, said: ‘We hope the cells will provide a treatment not only for these two untreatable diseases but for other debilitating eye diseases.’

This is the second trial involving embryonic stem cells. The first began last year in the U.S. and aims to make the paralysed walk. AMD affects 300,000 Britons.

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