Groundbreaking Trial Restores Sight
Tests carried out by Moorfields Eye Hospital, the National Institute for Research and the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London significantly restored sight to sufferers of age-related macular degeneration.
A recent article printed in Nature Biology, a medical science journal, published the results of a groundbreaking trial carried out with two sufferers of sight loss.
One patient of 86 years described having a quick and sudden onset of loss of sight, after which his right eye was left with barely any vision at any range. This was highly debilitating, and for some patients results in becoming legally classified as blind. After the treatment, however, Mr. Waters described immense improvement and a return to his usual activities, including reading and even gardening. He felt extremely lucky, he said, and the second patient also experienced great improvement.
The trial was one of a number of adaptive phase 1 clinical studies, such as those from http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/adaptive-phase-i-studies, and scientists at the above institutions are optimistic about the results.
Age-related macular degeneration causes the highest number of blindness cases in the developed world, according to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. It affects vision in a back part of the eye called the macular by causing the full deterioration of retinal cells which form a film there.
The new treatment grew new cells for this macular layer out of stem cells, a new biological material which can be developed for tissue in any part of the body. Scientists then took these newly formed cells and fixed them to a patch made of plastic which rebuilds the eye. This could then be placed inside the eye as a full replacement of the lost macular film. Scientists say that this is the first study in which these cells have been used in this way and is an exciting step forward.
Hope for the Future
The success of this trial could result in a product which sight-loss sufferers can simply purchase in pharmacies, representing great progress for many. The results hold meaningful promise for not just AMD sufferers but also possibly for those with other kinds of sight problems and conditions, researchers say, but until more studies of a similar nature are carried out with other conditions, this remains hopeful speculation.