Fierce Biotech | May 16, 2011, 08:05 am | Boston | PRNewswire-US Newswire
Scientists from Schepens Eye Research Institute are the first to regenerate large areas of damaged retinas and improve visual function using IPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) derived from skin. The results of their study, which is published in PLoS ONE this month, hold great promise for future treatments and cures for diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases that affect millions worldwide.
"We are very excited about these results," says Dr. Budd A. Tucker, the study's first author. "While other researchers have been successful in converting skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) and subsequently into retinal neurons, we believe that this is the first time that this degree of retinal reconstruction and restoration of visual function has been detected," he adds. Tucker, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, completed the study at Schepens Eye Research Institute in collaboration with Dr. Michael J. Young, the principle investigator of the study, who heads the Institute's regenerative medicine center.