Stem Cell based cure for blindness?

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From the UK's Sunday Times:

BRITISH scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time.

The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.

This week Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.

The treatment will tackle age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness.
 

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  • #2
chemisttree
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I'm not surprised that Pfizer is interested in the therapy. Recipients will be required to take Pfizer's anti-rejection drugs the rest of their life if embryonic stem cells are used.
 
  • #3
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We have several areas of our bodies that the immune system appears to be incapable of function. These are called immune-privileged sites, and include the eye, brain, ovary and testis.
You can read more about it here.
www.mai-journal.com/interviews/streilein.pdf[/URL] -
 
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  • #4
turbo
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We have several areas of our bodies that the immune system appears to be incapable of function. These are called immune-privileged sites, and include the eye, brain, ovary and testis.
You can read more about it here.
www.mai-journal.com/interviews/streilein.pdf[/URL] -[/QUOTE]Yep! Eyes appear particularly situated in the body's defense structure. If you develop Rhabdomyoscarcoma, the only approved treatment (at least when I was producing instructional materials for the ophthalmologists) was ennucleation (surgical removal of the affected eye) and the doctors would tell the patient to wrap his or her affairs up very quickly because 6 months from then, they would be dead. Never far off the mark, IMO.
 
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  • #5
Andy Resnick
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We have several areas of our bodies that the immune system appears to be incapable of function. These are called immune-privileged sites, and include the eye, brain, ovary and testis.
You can read more about it here.
www.mai-journal.com/interviews/streilein.pdf[/URL] -[/QUOTE]

Interesting...although the brain does have immune cells (macrophages), so I wouldn't claim that immune-privileged sites do not have a functioning adaptive immune system. There's also the innate immune response to consider.

Cartilege would also be interesting to look at- there's no blood supply.
 
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