Stem cells may protect retina from progressive degeneration, study says

November 3, 2008

A proprietary purified human neural stem cell product (HuCNS-SC, StemCells), when transplanted into a well-established animal model, may protect the retina from progressive degeneration, according to researchers.

Portland, OR-A proprietary purified human neural stem cell product (HuCNS-SC, StemCells), when transplanted into a well-established animal model, may protect the retina from progressive degeneration, according to researchers.

In this preclinical study, conducted by Raymond Lund, PhD, researcher and professor, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, and his research team, stem cells were transplanted into the Royal College of Surgeons rat, a well-established animal model of retinal degeneration.

The study showed that the stem cells survived the transplants and engrafted, and the eyes transplanted with the cells showed preservation of the photoreceptors and stabilization of visual function.

"This study confirms the results of previously published academic studies evaluating neural stem cell transplantation into the retina and provides us with the rationale to pursue clinical testing of HuCNS-SC cells for retinal disorders,” said Stephen Huhn, vice president and head of the CNS program at StemCells.

"We are already conducting additional preclinical studies and a pre-investigational new drug (IND) meeting has been scheduled with the FDA in December 2008 to determine the pathway to a successful IND filing," he added.

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