Stem Cell Technology may cure eye diseases

Originally Published in the News-Press on 8/27/2013

We have been hearing about stem cells for years, but have always been told that stem cell technology is in the future.

The future has arrived. Advanced Cell Technology, a company based in Santa Monica, Calif., is the sponsor for the first two clinical trials involving stem cells in human eyes.

These trials are being conducted on patients with age-related macular degeneration in the United States and Stargardt’s disease in the United Kingdom. The clinical trial centers in the U.S. include the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, and Mass Eye and Ear in Boston.

At Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida’s annual Eye Research Symposia earlier this year, Dr. Dean Eliott, the principal investigator at Mass Eye and Ear, spoke about his experience with stem cells. For more information about these clinical trials, please visit

The purpose of these early trials is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of stem cell implantation in humans. These two studies are expected to be completed by early 2014. Once stem cells are proven to be safe and tolerable by humans, additional clinical trials may begin to determine the effectiveness of stem cells on specific eye diseases.

Knowing the types of stem cells is essential in understanding stem cell research.

Scientists will continue to study all applications of stem cells, and will continue to learn and develop new strategies for treatment or cures, offering hope to patients with debilitating diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

For more information about stem cells and clinical trials, please visit:,,

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