Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



 

Stem cell therapy used to treat glaucoma in rats

21 March 2011

By Dr Lux Fatimathas

Appeared in BioNews 600

UK scientists have shown stem cells can be used to successfully stop glaucoma, an eye disorder, in rats. Stem cells were isolated from bone marrow and successfully grafted onto damaged nerves in the eye. This method stopped and partially reversed progression of the disorder, suggesting stem cell therapies for the treatment of glaucoma in humans may be possible in the future.

'Finding treatments to reverse blindness is no longer in the realm of science fiction. We are doing it in animal models and results are so encouraging that we hope to move forward to testing on humans soon', said Professor Keith Martin of the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital, who is leading the study funded by the UK charity Fight for Sight. 'Stem cell treatment is moving forward very fast in many branches of medicine and we are seeing some of the best results in eyes', he added.

Glaucoma affects approximately 480,000 people in the UK, usually aged over 40 years. The disorder is caused by a blockage of the drainage tubes in the eye, resulting in a build-up of fluid called aqueous humour. This leads to increased pressure within the eye, ultimately causing blindness due to damage of the optic nerve that transmits signals from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the developed world.

Current treatments for glaucoma involve decreasing the pressure within the eye to prevent nerve damage. But in patients with advanced glaucoma, this treatment cannot help reverse the damage already done to the optic nerve. Stem cell treatment may provide a new therapy to repair this damage.

'We hope to use cells from patients, taking samples from blood and bone marrow, and modify them. We can then use these stem cells to protect cells from glaucoma and regenerate ones that have been damaged… However, it will be a few more years until these treatments are ready for human clinical trials', said Professor Martin.


SOURCES & REFERENCES
Cambridge News | 11 March 2011
 
The Telegraph | 12 March 2011
 
Scotsman | 12 March 2011
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

06 February 2017 - by Emma Laycock 
Stem cell secretions, called exosomes, appear to protect retinal cells in rats, offering a potential therapy for degenerative eye diseases like glaucoma...
12 March 2012 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
A potential stem cell therapy for glaucoma – a degenerative eye condition that can lead to blindness – has yielded positive results in animal tests...
31 January 2012 - by Dr Dusko Ilic and Dr Emma Stephenson 
Last week, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Massachusetts, USA, made two important announcements regarding human embryonic stem (hES) cell-based therapies for the potential treatment of Stargardt's dystrophy and age-related macular degeneration, two devastating degenerative disease leading to blindness....
26 September 2011 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo 
UK scientists have been granted approval to begin the first clinical trial using embryonic stem cells (ES cells) in Europe, which they hope could lead to an effective treatment for a degenerative eye disease causing blindness...
20 June 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
Two clinical trials to test whether embryonic stem cells can treat two incurable eye disorders have been launched in the USA. Twenty-four patients will be treated during the trials at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)...

27 September 2010 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo 
Researchers have successfully transplanted retinal cone cells into blind mice, making progress towards a stem cell treatment for a form of blindness that causes degeneration of the eye's retina...
14 December 2009 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
New research offers promise of restoring vision in patients with congenital or acquired corneal scarring. The findings were presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology in San Diego, US....
20 April 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
Clinicians from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital have predicted that an experimental new therapy for treating Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, may become routinely available within the next six to seven years...
04 May 2005 - by BioNews 
A hospital in the UK is pioneering the use of stem cells to restore the eyesight of patients. Queen Victoria Hospital, in East Grinstead, West Sussex, says that it has helped more than 20 patients to see again over the past five years. Adult stem cells, taken either from the...
05 August 2002 - by BioNews 
Stem cells found in bone could be used as a treatment for many kinds of blindness, according to scientists in the United States. The team, at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, found that if they injected particular stem cells into the eyes of mice with a genetic...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation