Treatment of Macular Degeneration with Stem cells Therapy
Posted: Apr 06, 2017
In the early nineties, nothing was known about the common eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, moreover these conditions were commonly ignored as the age related side effects. Even on the conventional medical front, little or no research had been updated for finding a definitive cure for eye disorders, such as macular degeneration; despite of their growing prevalence.
However, with the recent FDA approval for clinical studies using stem cells therapy, scientists have been more encouraged to investigate different ways to incorporate stem cells treatment for curing eye disorders, such as macular degeneration. In many of these reported eye conditions, one of the most common forms that have been prevalent in the recent years is juvenile macular degeneration. It has been identified to affect children with the upper age limit of 10-20 years. It has been estimated that this type of blindness is primarily associated with the loss of photoreceptor cells, utilized for the visual acuity of a person. As similar to many of prevalent eye conditions, even juvenile macular degeneration cannot be cured through conventional medications.
AMD or age related macular degeneration, can be considered to be one of the common eye problem; associated with the vision loss. As per the recent CDC estimation, almost 30-50 million people are being affected with this eye condition in developed countries. Justifying its name, AMD is found to be more prevalent in people above the age 50 years and more and more people suffer from this disorder as and when they age. The disease can be classified as wet AMD and dry AMD on the basis of type of damage, out of which dry form is more prevalent without any effective treatment so far. However, technological advancements have been helpful is configuration of alternative treatment that has proven to be effective in minimizing or stopping the progression of the disease.
We are able to see because of the retinal lining, inside the eye. It is basically made up of neurons, present at the inner side of the eye, and is mainly responsible for converting light into vision. The macula, responsible for central vision; is the small area at the back of the retina, measuring about 5.5 millimetres in diameter. Macula is mainly responsible for different tasks related to the vision such as but not limited to facial recognition, driving, reading, etc. The macula is made up of millions of cells named as rods and cones, which react with light and send electrical nerve impulses to the brain via optic nerve. A layer of epithelium cells known as retinal pigment epithelium is present centrally; which are responsible for cellular nourishment.
In patients with AMD, these retinal pigment epithelium cells stop providing nourishment to the cells, due to which the rods and cones get malnourished; dyeing eventually. This death of vision cells is typically responsible for vision loss in AMD patients. Dry form of the AMD generally takes longer period to progress, whereas in typical wet form of the AMD the progression is faster, with the formation of abnormal blood vessel, generally diminishing the central vision within days of its onset.
Currently no treatment is available for dry form of the condition, except for some general drop; that are not effective in stopping or even minimizing the progression; similarly no other option except for the surgery is available for wet form of the disease.
The human eye is the most suitable experimental target; for effective alternative treatment options such as stem cells therapy for macular degeneration. It is actually relatively self justified, with many boundaries that are keeping cells from migrating to other parts of the body. Stem cells are the preliminary cells of the body and are easily accessible in current advanced technical world. These stem cells can be easily isolated from well known abundant reservoirs, present inside our own body such as Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue. Stem cells are being processed under the clean environment and can be infused back into the eye, to obtain considerable improvement in the vision. These stem cells have observed to be undergoing cellular differentiation into neural origin and rod as well as cones. Due to their angiogenetic properties, new blood vessels can be formed in order to minimize the progression of the wet form of the AMD.
Hence, these stem cells isolated from our own body, can act as an elixir, which was locked inside our own body.
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