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Stem cell therapy

Human embryonic stem cells appear to be safe for use in macular degeneration

Human embryonic stem cells show evidence of medium to long-term safety and graft survival when transplanted into patients, study finds

Source: Nissim Benvenisty, Russo E / Wikimedia Commons

Human embryonic stem cells show evidence of medium to long-term safety when transplanted into patients, study finds

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold promise as a source of therapeutic cells for a wide range of degenerative diseases, but their plasticity and capacity for self-renewal has prompted safety concerns.

A study published in The Lancet (online, 15 October 2014)[1] provides the first evidence of medium- to long-term safety, graft survival and possible biological activity of hESC-derived cells transplanted into patients.

Robert Lanza, from Advanced Cell Technology in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and team transplanted hESC-derived retinal pigment epithelium in 18 patients with macular degeneration. The cells appeared safe and were well tolerated up to 37 months after transplantation. Furthermore, visual acuity improved in 10 of 18 treated eyes and improved or remained the same in 7 eyes, whereas untreated control eyes showed no such improvement.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066859

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