(Updated March 12, 2017)
MD Stem Cells has announced a new and extensive stem cell study to determine effectiveness of stem cells in ophthalmic disease. The company has been named collaborator for the new Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study (SCOTS), being conducted in Florida.
Conditions eligible for the new study include retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), myopic macular degeneration, hereditary retinopathies such as retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt disease, as well as selected inflammatory, vascular and traumatic conditions. Optic nerve diseases considered eligible include glaucoma, ischemic optic neuropathy, optic atrophy, optic neuritis and some trauma.
The study is focused on the ocular tissue that has sustained damage and its potential for improvement, rather than a specific disease entity.
SCOTS is registered with the National Institutes of Health and listed on their website www.clinicaltrials.gov with identifier NCT01920867. Interested patients and healthcare providers may reach Dr. Levy at [email protected] or 203-423-9494 Eastern Time USA.
Dr. Steven Levy, President of MD Stem Cells, will function as Study Director for the clinical trial, expected to continue through August 2017. The Retinal Associates of South Florida is the study sponsor, and Dr. Jeffrey Weiss, retinal surgeon and physician, is the principle investigator and provider of the ophthalmic stem cell treatments.
In June 2015, SCOTS researchers reported treatment results from a 27 year old female patient who had lost vision approximately 5 years prior to enrollment in the study. Pre-treatment best-corrected visual acuity at the Wilmer Eye Institute was 20/800 Right Eye (OD) and 20/4,000 Left Eye (OS). Four months following treatment in SCOTS, the central visual acuity had improved to 20/100 OD and 20/40 OS.
SCOTS continues to enroll and evaluate the clinical responses of patients with various retinal and optic nerve diseases. In the patient presented, optic neuropathy of uncertain etiology leading to optic atrophy resulted in long-standing and severe visual loss. Treatment with BMSCs using the specific injection methods provided within SCOTS achieved a dramatic improvement in vision.
The exact mechanisms of visual improvement remain uncertain but likely involve more than simple proliferation and differentiation of the bone marrow stem cells. The type of local delivery of stem cells utilized within SCOTS may be critical to achieve such positive responses.
(Updated March 12, 2017)