Stem Cell Therapy: a Novel Approach for Vision Restoration in Retinitis Pigmentosa
Medical Hypothesis, Discovery & Innovation in Ophthalmology,
Vol. 2 No. 2 (2013),
1 June 2013
Unfortunately, at present, degenerative retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa remains untreatable. Patients with these conditions suffer progressive visual decline resulting from continuing loss of photoreceptor cells and outer nuclear layers. However, stem cell therapy is a promising approach to restore visual function in eyes with degenerative retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. Animal studies have established that pluripotent stem cells when placed in the mouse retinitis pigmentosa models have the potential not only to survive, but also to differentiate, organize into and function as photoreceptor cells. Furthermore, there is early evidence that these transplanted cells provide improved visual function. These groundbreaking studies provide proof of concept that stem cell therapy is a viable method of visual rehabilitation among eyes with retinitis pigmentosa. Further studies are required to optimize these techniques in human application. This review focuses on stem cell therapy as a new approach for vision restitution in retinitis pigmentosa.
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