Taiwanese team makes breakthrough in retinal cell transplantation
Taipei, April 14 (CNA) A Taiwanese research team has developed a new technique for retinal cell transplantation that could one day result in more effective treatments for an incurable eye disease that can lead to blindness, the team’s leader said Monday.
Chiou Shih-hwa (邱士華), the director of the Division of Basic Research under Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s Department of Medical Research and Education, said the method, which is currently being tested in pigs, could offer a new approach to dealing with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The disease affects more than 200,000 people in Taiwan and is the top cause of blindness among people aged 50 and above in the West.
Drug treatments involving injections into the eye have been used for years to stem the advance of the disease, Chiou said, but they have their limitations.
Scientists are now trying a newer approach — retinal cell transplantation — which is aimed at regenerating photoreceptor cells in the macula, a part of the retina that is critical for sharp vision, and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells that protects and nourishes photoreceptor cells.
Chiou said a team in the United States has begun the second round of human clinical trials in transplanting embryonic stem cells in patients to deal with AMD, but the team’s method of injecting the cells into the retina has led to uneven results…….
Read more: http://focustaiwan.tw/news/ast/201504140012.aspx
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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