Stem Cell

Scientists advance stem cell therapy for a leading cause of blindness

Scientists at the National Eye Institute have advanced a stem cell therapy to treat an eye disease known as geographic atrophy, a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Photo by Laitr Keiows/Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 2 (UPI) — Researchers made advances toward creating stem cell-derived retinal cells used to treat a leading cause of blindness, scientists at the National Eye Institute said.

NEI scientists found that tiny tube-like protrusions called primary cilia on a layer of cells in the back of the eye, known as the retinal pigment epithelium, are essential for the survival of the retina’s light-sensing photoreceptors, according to a new study published in the journal Cell Reports.

The discovery has advanced scientists’ ability to use induced-pluripotent stem cells to create adult RPE for transplants to treat patients with geographic atrophy — or dry age-related macular degeneration — a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

“We now have a…