Blindness can kill a persons motivation to live, however, the blind can now regain their site. Researchers did an operation using Stem Cells and were able to treat one type of blindness. Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital have implanted eye cells derived from stem cells behind the retinas of a 60-year-old woman whose vision is impaired by a common problem called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A Stem Cell is undifferentiated cell of a multicellular organism that is capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells of the same type, and from which certain other kinds of cell arise by differentiation. In short, they are all-purpose cells that grow into various roles as a body grows.
A lady volunteered to take part in the trial for the new technology that is being carried out as part of the ongoing London Project to Cure Blindness. The hope among researchers from the project is that the treatment may help to restore the woman’s vision and a cure for blindness that will save the world.
CNET reports that the test is just the latest attempt by researchers to use stem cells for medical purposes. Many researchers believe their foundational properties mean they will be able to revolutionize medicine, helping treat everything from leukaemia to spinal cord injuries to diabetes.
AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead. Well, this is one of the many diseases that cause blindness. A significant number of people suffer from the disease and the number of people suffering from it is only set to increase, according to Moorfields. The hospital estimates that one in every ten people over the age of 65 has AMD to some degree.
The researchers carried out a successful procedure on the patient which is a positive step. The trial is set to test exactly how safe it is to transplant eye cells derived from stem cells. The cells were grown from a donated early embryo, which is so small and undeveloped that they have the potential to fit into any part of the human body.
The treatment will be given to ten more patients in the next 18 months. The researchers will follow each patient’s progress for a year after their operations to assess safety as well as any progress restoring vision. Initial results from the first patient are expected in early December.
“Although we recognize this clinical trial focuses on a small group of AMD patients who have experienced sudden severe visual loss, we hope that many patients may benefit in the future,” said University College London’s Professor Pete Coffey, the ophthalmologist co-leading the project. The researchers have made a milestone in discovering a cure for blindness.