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New hope for AMD - Scientists successfully create new retinal cells!

New hope is offered in the search for new treatments for age related macular degeneration (AMD). Researchers from the Georgetown University Medical Center were able to create retinal cells from adult stem cells in a laboratory. The study is published in the March 24 issue of Stem Cells. The goal of the research was to develop a therapeutic response to the death of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) caused by AMD. RPE cells are crucial to the health of the retina's vision cells. The cells that were created in the research were functional which is notable because if these cells die, they can cause AMD to develop in the eye thus allowing researchers to be able to study the mechanisms of the disease further. The results, caution researchers, are very preliminary and while the generated cells were viable, much more work needs to be done before the cells can be considered safe for treatment purposes. Not only could the cells potentially be used for transplantation, they could also be used to study the disease itself in the lab and new drugs could be developed as well. Current treatments for age related macular degeneration include AREDS vitamins and supplements containing Lutein and Zeaxanthin.* Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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