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New stem cell therapy being developed for diabetic retinopathy

Researchers are on the verge of refining stem cell treatments that would stop and possibly even reverse the vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can lead to complete vision loss. The disease affects up to 80% of patients who have been diabetic for ten or more years. Researchers from the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute and the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine discovered that stem cells isolated from fat cells and injected into rodent eyes regenerate and repair the damaged cells and improve vision. The work that is currently being done is a precursor to clinical trials involving patients. The studies involving animals point to remarkable improvement in vision loss caused by diabetes but the full potential of the therapy cannot be realized until tested in humans.

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