There is new hope for people terrified they will lose their sight to macular degeneration. Tuesday, Northern Nevada Medical Center became the first center in the nation to host a clinic trial using stem cells to treat the most common cause of adult blindness. Dr. Arshad Khanani implanted a device developed by Neurotech Pharmaceuticals into a local patient’s eye. The device contains stem cells programmed to be proteins that are known to stop the progression of wet macular degeneration. So instead of current treatment, which involves shots into the eye every 4 to 8 weeks, this implant continuously releases the protein. Dr. Khanani says this is a major medical breakthrough. “You have to have a protein in the eye to shrink the blood vessels that are leaking from wet macular degeneration. So essentially, you have a similar protein that is programmed into these stem cells to be secreted so the hope is that this will have a long term effect on the patient. Again we are early in the game so we don’t know what the data will show, but this is really exciting.”
The goal of the encapsulated cell therapy is to stop the progression of macular degeneration and avoid the need for frequent injections in the eye.
Results from this phase 2 clinical trial are expected in early 2017.
For more information about the implant, go to www.neurotechusa.com
Dr. Arshad Khanani is the managing partner for Sierra Eye Associates in Reno, NV. For more information go to www.sierraeyeassociates.com
Published in ktvn.com