19th March 2018
Blind people could have sight restored after stem cell trial success
By Alex Matthews-King, Health Correspondent
Advance could mean ‘affordable off-the-shelf therapy’ to treat age-related macular degeneration, the leading causes of sight loss in the UK
Patients have had their sight restored in a pioneering trial in which stem cells were used to regrow the cells in the eye responsible for detailed vision.
Two patients, a man in his eighties and a woman in her sixties, are now able to read again after the procedure, which is the first of its kind.
Both patients suffered from a severe visual impairment caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but reported their sight was greatly improved 12 months on.
While the results have been seen in a small number of patients, the early findings are a promising sign the treatment is safe and could be effective in other blindness causing diseases, the researchers said.
“This study represents real progress in regenerative medicine and opens the door on new treatment options for people with age-related macular degeneration,” Professor Pete Coffey of UCL said.