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Human Study to Begin for Stem-Cell Therapy Designed to Preserve Retina

Jun 17, 2015
A clinical trial for a retinitis pigmentosa (RP) stem-cell therapy has received authorization to launch from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sixteen people will be enrolled in the safety-focused study, which will also monitor changes in visual acuity and retinal sensitivity. Trial participants will receive injections of 500,000 or one million cells.

A clinical trial for a retinitis pigmentosa (RP) stem-cell therapy developed at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has received authorization to launch from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sixteen people will be enrolled in the safety-focused study, which will also monitor changes in visual acuity and retinal sensitivity. Trial participants will receive injections of 500,000 or one million cells.

UCI researchers Henry Klassen, M.D., Ph.D., and Jing Yang, M.D., Ph.D., developed the emerging treatment, which is aimed at preserving vision in people with RP and, potentially, other retinal conditions. They also co-founded the company jCyte, Inc. to advance it toward commercialization. Baruch Kuppermann, M.D., Ph.D., chief of UCI’s Retina Service, will inject the cells into patients.

Known as human retinal progenitor cells (hRPCs), the therapeutic stem cells are similar to those developed by ReNeuron, which recently received FDA authorization to launch a clinical trial for its RP treatment. Both jCyte’s and ReNeuron’s hRPCs are more mature than embryonic stem cells, but haven’t completely developed into photoreceptors, the cells in the retina that make vision possible. However, there are two key differences between the two therapies.

For the full article, visit Foundation Fighting Blindness.

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