Retinal stem cell study shows promise for therapy

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) - Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50. Scientists have discovered a new therapy that may actually restore sight in those affected.

Scientists are excited not only because it worked, and helped some people see clearly again, but also because this study puts a focus on an new kind of stem cell therapy, using skin cells.

Macular degeneration causes a blurry or black area in the middle of your field of vision that grows over time, causing more sight loss.

There is no cure, but a new study published this week in the journal The Lancet, is giving patients hope.

Embryonic stem cells were turned into retinal cells and implanted into the eyes of 18 patients.

Vision improved for about half of them.

Dr. Andreas said, "This study was primarily to see if these cells would be safe, and the bonus was that some people started to see better."

Dr. Andreas Bratyy-Layal and Dr. Suzanne Peterson are stem cell scientists with the Scripps Research Institute.

They see this as a major breakthrough.

Although this sight study did do that, Dr. Peterson says labs around the country, including here in San Diego, are moving away from the practice.

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Retinal stem cell study shows promise for therapy

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