The discovery of a new source of stem cells at the back of the eye offers hope of possibly one day being able to repair the damage from age-related macular degeneration. Researchers discovered the central nervous system stem cells in a the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) which lies behind the retina. Stem cells from the RPE layer were taken from they eyes of more than 100 deceased donors who ranged in age from 22 to 99. However, the cells would also be able to be taken from living people by inserting a needle in the eye and removing the cells from the sub-retinal space. Using these retrieved cells, researchers were able to get about 10% of the stem cells to grow in the lab. Researchers believe that with additional manipulation, it would be possible to create other types of central nervous system cells and neural retinal cells in particular. RPE cells and photoreceptors are important cell types for age-related macular degeneration.*
Stem cells the magic solution to macular degeneration vision loss?
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 19 January, 2012