Once the eye sight is gone, there is no solution but now stem cell therapy has brought forth some semblence of hope for those who had lost eye-sight due to type 2 diabetes.
Just an injection of stem cells into the eye may reverse or at least slow the early-stage sight-loss disorder, said new research.
Lead author of the study Shaomei Wang, research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US, said, “This is the first study to show preservation of vision after a single injection of adult-derived human cells into a rat model with age-related macular degeneration.”
In an experiment on mice, they injected stem cells that resulted in 130 days of preserved vision in lab conditions, which means in humans, it would be at least 16 years, said the researchers.
The researchers first converted adult human skin cells into powerful induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for the study and made into any cell of the human body.
These stem cells were then directed toward a neural progenitor cell fate, known as iNPCs or induced neural progenitor stem cells.
“These induced neural progenitor stem cells are a novel source of adult-derived cells which should have powerful effects on slowing down vision loss associated with macular degeneration,” said another contributor to the study, Clive Svendsen.
Pending clinical trials, the institute is confident that it is close to offering adult stem cells as a promising source for personalised therapies for this and other human diseases, said Svendsen.
Their study has been published in the journal Stem Cells.
Eye diseases like macular degeneration or a genetic condition called Stargardt’s macular dystrophy that afflicts young people are considered excellent candidates for stem cell therapy because the eye is any day an immune-privileged area in the sense the transplanted cells are not as likely to be rejected as foreign bodies the way they’re done in case of heart or liver or any other human organism.