For the first time ever, the British doctors have treated the disease causing roughly half of all cases blindness – macular degeneration.
And once again stem cells. British physicians were the first one to obtain tangible results as to the treatment of one of the most common diseases affecting the eyesight. Thus far, this is a matter of two elderly patients, who effectively reversed their blindness caused by macular degeneration.
It is well known that those over the age of 50 are much more likely to have the breakdown of the layer of cells behind the light-sensitive rods and cones forming the eye’s retina. The reason for this is that the retinal pigment epithelium is unable to transport nutrients into the retina’s outer layer and remove waste, which leads to cell disruption. As a result, a small area of retina is suffering, however, the affecting zone may increase over time. This steady degeneration can gradually widen into a blind spot that interferes with a person’s vision. People suffering from macular degeneration, even in its initial phase, cannot read and recognize faces.
This dangerous disease is the cause of about half of the cases of blindness, and so results obtained by the British are very important. One of the patients, 86-year-old Douglas Waters, was blind in his right eye. 12 months following the implantation of specially designed embryonic engineered stem cells (the width of implant is only a few millimeters, its thickness is 40 microns only) Mr. Waters claimed that his vision has restored to such an extent that he could even read the newspaper.
At the present time this treatment mode is at the stage of clinical trials, and if its performance is good, then in five years dozens of millions of patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration will take advantage of it.