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Monday, 22 April 2013

New stem cell technique could aid AMD treatments



A new and simpler technique which can be used to produce human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in large qualities could lead to the development of treatments for AMD, researchers in Baltimore have reported. 
 
Lead researcher Dr Donald Zack said: "As a result, there has been significant interest in developing RPE culture systems both to study AMD disease mechanisms and to provide substrate for possible cell-based therapies. Because of their indefinite self-renewal, hPSCs have the potential to provide an unlimited supply of RPE-like cells."
 
The study, which was published in the latest issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, simplified RPE cell production by modifying a standard protocol for isolating the cells from spontaneously differentiating hPSC monolayers. 
 
The study was led by Dr Zack, alongside Dr Julian Maruotti and a team of researchers at the Wilmer Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Researchers at the Institute of Vision in Paris were also involved.   
 
Dr Maruotti added: "However, most of the currently accepted methods in use for deriving RPE cells from hPSC involve time-and-labor-consuming steps done by hand, and they don't yield large enough amount of the differential cells- which has posed a problem when trying to use them to develop potential new therapies."