19 September, 2023
Hot Off The Press
This “Lipe” gene which has been identified in the USA is associated with lipid metabolism and regulation of immune activity. Mice with a dysfunctional lipe gene develop spots on the retina much the same as we see in macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Further research will hopefully give us an indication of how important this finding is.
It seems that Spain is catching up with us! They are setting up an Inherited Retinal Disease Register similar to our own AIRDR. But just for RP and LCA.
If you have an Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD) and haven’t registered yet for the AIRDR (Australian Inherited Retinal Disease Data Bank and Register), then think about registering. Otherwise, researchers will struggle to find you to ask if you want to participate in upcoming clinical trials.
Preliminary trials suggest that this stem cell patch improves vision in geographic MD. This clinical trial will show us more clearly how effective the stem cell treatment really is, in 24 patients in the USA.
Geographic Atrophy affects the RPE (Retinal Pigment Epithelial) cells and prevents them from doing their job of supporting the photoreceptor or light-detecting cells. If we lose our photoreceptors, we lose vision. If the patch repairs the RPE cells, then hopefully we can regain some vision, and prevent further loss.
- Scientists have found a way to use nanotechnology to create a 3D ‘scaffold’ for RPE cells to grow on – paving the way for potential new ways of treating Macular Degeneration.
It is the first time that ‘electrospinning’ technology, has been used to create a 3D scaffold, which is clearly a more natural situation for RPE cells to grow in than the previous flat sheets. Using this scaffold, the RPE cells were able to grown and differentiate beautifully, for as long as 150 days.