The development of Therapeutic Cells and Technologies to treat age-related macular degeneration (dry-AMD).
A cell type called the Retinal Pigmented Epithelial cell (RPE) supports and nourishes the retina in the healthy eye. In patients with the disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the RPE cells are damaged or die, leading to loss of central vision. AMD is the leading cause of blindness over the age of 55, affecting over nine million people in the United States alone. There is no cure for AMD at present. The most promising future therapy is the replacement of the layer of damaged RPE cells that normally support and nourish the retina.
In the past, RPE cells have been obtained from other regions of the diseased eye, or from fetal and adult donor tissue. However, the lack of a reliable and ample supply of healthy RPE cells has hindered the development of RPE transplantation as a therapeutic approach to AMD. The derivation of RPE cells from hESC was considered to be the best opportunity to reliably produce large populations of homogeneous RPE cells required to make cell therapy practical and effective.
Working in conjunction with scientists at Hadassah University Hospital, Cell Cure Neurosciences has perfected a patented technology that reliably and economically drives hESC to become RPE cells. Researchers have shown in a small animal model of AMD that RPE cells produced using this method can preserve vision when transplanted below the retina.
Our scientists have further developed these patented technologies to provide RPE in a form that may be useful for application to patients. OpRegen® provides RPE in a suspended form. OpRegen-Plus® is a proprietary product in which the RPE cells are supported on or within a membrane.