Thursday, May 07, 2015

12th Clinical Trial For California's Stem Cell Agency

The California stem cell agency today announced its 12th clinical trial, one that deals with retinal eye problems and and research that has already seen $21 million in state funding. 

The trial involves work by Henry Klassen of UC Irvine, where the treatments will be carried out pending final approval by the school's insitutional review board. Today's announcement came as the result of FDA approval. 

The agency said in a press release that Klassen and his colleagues "have developed the therapy to treat retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which erodes the cells in the retina, the light sensitive area in the back of the eye that is crucial for vision."

The agency continued, "The clinical trial will involve enrolling up to 16 patients who will get a single injection in the eye of stem cells known as retinal progenitors. It’s hoped these will help protect photoreceptors that are not yet damaged by the disease, and even replace those that are already lost."

Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the agency's governing board, said, "RP affects about 1.5 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of inherited blindness in the developed world. Having an effective treatment for it would transform people’s lives in extraordinary ways.”
The goal of the initial trial is to test the safety of the treatment.

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