Researchers have safely transplanted stem cells derived from a patient’s skin to the back of the eye in an effort to restore vision. The research is being presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Seattle, Wash.
A small piece of skin from the patient’s arm was collected and modified into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). The iPSCs were then transformed into eye cells, which were transplanted into the patient’s eye. The transplanted cells survived without any adverse events for over a year and resulted in slightly improved vision. The patient suffered from advanced wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that did not respond to current standard treatments.
iPSCs are adult cells that have been reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state, which can then be differentiated into any cell type found in the body.