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Stem Cell Treatment May Reverse Vision Loss
Could stem cells be the key to reversing vision loss?
A promising new treatment developed at the University of Montreal works by transplanting photoreceptors in the eyes. This could become a treatment for those who suffer from age-related macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is caused by the degeneration of cells in the macula, a critical area at the back of the eye which houses the tissue that maintains and repairs visual cells in the retina.
AMD affects cones, the cells responsible for color vision, ultimately not allowing them to be maintained as waste builds up. And that leads to gradual vision loss.
The researchers focused on the idea of a natural molecule that may be capable of forcing embryonic stem cells into becoming cones. These cones were then injected into mice and worked as they were supposed to, naturally migrating to the proper location within the retina of the host.
Human trials are still far off, but the findings provide hope for a potential treatment for the most common cause of vision loss for people 50 and older.