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Stem cells may hold the key to curing wet AMD

The Moorfields Eye Hospital in London is currently conducting a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of treating people suffering from wet macular degeneration with transplanting retinal pigment epithelial cells derived from stem cells. The trial follows the successful operation involving a 60-year-old woman who received the stem cell treatment. Using embryonic stem cells that were cultured to grow patches of RPE (retinal pigment epithelium) cells for transplant, the researchers replaced cells in the eye that were either damaged or missing. The trial involves 10 additional patients with wet AMD. Patients will be followed for a year to determine the safety and efficacy of the cells and to measure their visual acuity. It will be December before researchers will be able to assess early results from the initial transplant recipient. If the clinical trial proves to be successful, researchers will then look at applying the therapy to patients with the dry form of macular degeneration.*

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