FDA approves trial to use embryonic stem cells to treat macular degeneration

Summary:The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Advanced Cell Technology to start clinical trials to see if embryonic stem cells can treat the most common form of macular degeneration.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Advanced Cell Technology to start clinical trials to see if embryonic stem cells can treat the most common form of macular degeneration.

According to Advanced Cell Technology
, it can initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial to treat patients with dry age related macular degeneration (dry AMD), the most common form of the eye problem. No treatments are available today. Dry AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people over 55 and affects 10 million to 15 million Americans.

In a nutshell, doctors will inject retinal cells---created from stem cells---into 12 people participating in the study. Macular degeneration occurs when retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells thin. Over time the loss of RPE cells cause vision loss and blindness. Only 50,000 to 200,000 RPE cells are needed to treat each patient.

Advanced Cell Technology said that its study will be designed to determine safety and tolerability of the injected RPE cells. The company said it is considering a few sites for its study including UCLA, Stanford and the Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Advanced Cell Technology is the second company to get the FDA node to start human trials with embryonic stem cells. The FDA in October gave Geron the go-ahead to use embryonic stem cells to treat 10 patients with spinal-cord injuries.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.