StemCultures® team members Sally Temple, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Stern, Ph.D., M.D., are continuing to make waves in the stem cell community. They recently received FDA approval for an exciting new clinical trial of a treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD). Vision loss due to dry AMD is currently untreatable. It is associated with the loss of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. In order to replace atrophic RPE, Temple and Stern transplant a unique adult RPE stem cell (RPESC) at the progenitor stage of development. As with other tissue types, these developmentally younger progenitor stage cells engraft more effectively than mature cells. In a major step forward, the FDA approved a clinical trial transplanting RPESC-derived RPE progenitor cells into human patients. If the remarkable preclinical results translate to the clinic, then the new therapy will benefit millions of dry AMD patients.
In related work, StemBeadsFGF2 injected into the eye were used to activate dormant RPESC to divide and replace RPE cells without surgery. One intravitreal injection of StemBeadsFGF2 activated endogenous RPESC proliferation sufficient to counteract a decade of dry AMD progression. StemBeads stimulate regeneration in the eye and spinal cord, can StemBeads stimulate regeneration in other types of tissue?