Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration moves a step closer to reality

Date:
March 27, 2011
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
The notion of transplanting adult stem cells to treat or even cure age-related macular degeneration has taken a significant step toward becoming a reality. Researchers have now demonstrated, for the first time, the ability to create retinal cells derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells that mimic the eye cells that die and cause loss of sight.

The notion of transplanting adult stem cells to treat or even cure age-related macular degeneration has taken a significant step toward becoming a reality. In a study published March 25 in Stem Cells, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, the ability to create retinal cells derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells that mimic the eye cells that die and cause loss of sight.

Related Articles


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in older Americans and worldwide. AMD gradually destroys sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. AMD progresses with death of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a dark color layer of cells which nourishes the visual cells in the retina.

While some treatments can help slow its progression, there is no cure. The discovery of human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells has opened a new avenue for the treatment of degenerative diseases, like AMD, by using a patient's own stem cells to generate tissues and cells for transplantation.

For transplantation to be viable in age-related macular degeneration, researchers have to first figure out how to program the naοve hiPS cells to function and possess the characteristics of the native retinal pigment epithelium, RPE, the cells that die off and lead to AMD.

The research conducted by the Georgetown scientists shows that this critical step in regenerative medicine for AMD has greatly progressed.

"This is the first time that hiPS-RPE cells have been produced with the characteristics and functioning of the RPE cells in the eye. That makes these cells promising candidates for retinal regeneration therapies in age-related macular degeneration," says the study's lead author Nady Golestaneh, Ph.D., assistant professor in GUMC's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology.

Using an established laboratory stem cell line, Golestaneh and her colleagues show that RPE generated from hiPS cells under defined conditions exhibit ion transport, membrane potential, polarized VEGF secretion and gene expression profile similar to those of a normal eye's RPE.

"This isn't ready for prime time though. We also identified some issues that need to be worked out before these cells are ready for transplantation but overall, this is a tremendous step forward in regenerative medicine," Golestaneh adds.

She explains that the hiPS-derived RPE cells show rapid telomere shortening, DNA chromosomal damage and increased p21 expression that cause cell growth arrest. This might be due to the random integration of viruses in the genome of skin fibroblasts during the reprogramming of iPS cells. Therefore, generation of viral-free iPS cells and their differentiation into RPE will be a necessary step towards implementation of these cells in clinical application, Golestaneh says.

"The next step in this research is to focus on a generation of 'safe' as well as viable hiPS-derived somatic cells," Golestaneh concludes.

Other authors on the paper include first author Maria Kokkinaki, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular &Cellular Biology, and Niaz Sahibzada, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology at GUMC.

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The authors report no personal financial interests related to this study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Kokkinaki, Niaz Sahibzada, Nady Golestaneh. Human iPS-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Cells Exhibit Ion Transport, Membrane Potential, Polarized VEGF Secretion and Gene Expression Pattern Similar to Native RPE. Stem Cells, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/stem.635

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration moves a step closer to reality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103123.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2011, March 27). Stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration moves a step closer to reality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103123.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration moves a step closer to reality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103123.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins