Adult Stem Cell Study Update

Adult Stem Cell Study Update

Posted under Eye Health, Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, The Eye

Eye centers such as Byers Eye Institute at Stanford and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary are two of the four centers that participated in the Phase I/II Study of Human Central Nervous System Stem Cells (HuCNS-SC) in Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Review of the Trial
The purpose of the study was to “determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of the transplantation of HuCNS-SC cells in patients with geographic atrophy (GA) due to age-related macular degeneration.” HuCNS-SC cells are purified adult human neural stem cells. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disease that manifests as either dry or wet AMD. More than 80% of those with AMD have the dry form. Geographic atrophy is an advanced form of dry AMD resulting in significant vision loss. The HuCNS-SC cells are delivered by a single injection into the space behind the retina in one eye in those who had evidence of GA.

Along with monitoring the safety of the injections, the patients are being monitored for any vision improvement or loss. The use of both conventional and advanced state-of-the-art methods are being used to evaluate patients over a one-year period. Patients will continue to be followed for an additional four years in a separate observational study.

Type of Stem Cells
StemCells, Inc. uses what is called homologous cells as defined by, “organ-specific stem cells to treat the same type of organ.” Which means the cells are already “programmed” for a specific organ. These are adult stem cells, not embryonic cells. Healthy donor derived cells (allogeneic) are used rather than those from the patient (autologous) which may carry genetic defects.


Update from June 20, 2014
In a news release from StemCells, Inc from June 20, 2014, “Interim results for the current AMD trial show a 70 percent reduction in the rate of geographic atrophy (GA) as compared to the control eye and a 65 percent reduction in the rate of GA as compared to the expected natural history of the disease following a single dose of the Company’s proprietary HuCNS-SC® human neural stem cells.”

Dr. Stephen Huhn, M.D., FACS, FAAP, vice president, CNS clinical research and chief medical officer, StemCells, Inc. reports, “The strength of the interim results exceeded our expectations. These positive clinical safety and efficacy findings are an important milestone in our goal of developing a first-in-class therapy for dry AMD based on our proprietary HuCNS-SC platform technology.”

Based on these positive results StemCells, Inc. will move forward with a Phase II study to determine efficacy of the HuCNS-SC cells in the treatment of advanced dry AMD. To learn about other research using stem cells for macular degeneration treatment visit:

Macular Degeneration Research Using Stem Cells

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN