Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

Firm launches two stem cell trials against blindness

Crossposted from Nature’s news blog on behalf of Meredith Wadman

Geron made medical history last October, when it treated subject number one in the first-ever trial of a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) therapy, for spinal cord injury.

Now, the second and third hESC trials have been launched. On July 12, in an operating room at the University of California, Los Angeles, the first subject in each of the trials — one for a rare form of blindness that usually begins in childhood, the other for a common cause of blindness in the elderly — was treated with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from hESCs. Details are available in this press release from the sponsoring company, Advanced Cell Technology, based in Santa Monica.

The surgery was performed by Steven Schwartz, the study’s principal investigator and retina division chief at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, who is pictured above in the process of transplanting the cells into one of the patients on Tuesday.

Continue reading on Nature’s news blog.

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