by Dan Roberts
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (now owned by Astellas) has been conducting promising safety trials for stem cell treatment of macular degeneration, but a six-month follow up has yielded even better news than expected.
ACT announced that Phase 1/2 clinical data treatment of Stargardt’s macular degeneration (SMD) and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Surprising even the researchers, however, the results also showed that ten of the 18 patients could see significantly better, seven either got better or didn’t lose any more vision, and only one got worse. Not only is the procedure proving to be safe, but vision improvement is already evident.
According to the authors, “these two studies provide the first evidence of the mid- to long-term effectiveness of pluripotent stem cell progeny into humans with any disease”. In addition to showing vision improvement and safety, ACT’s protocol also led to improved health (pigmentation) of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in 13 of the 18 patients.
The company plans to initiate comprehensive Phase 2 clinical trials soon for the treatment of both AMD and SMD.