Last week, a 60 year old man in Japan became the first patient to receive stem cells donated by another person to treat his wet AMD.
Hasn’t that been done?
Not exactly, but something similar was done three years ago. In 2014, the same researchers implanted stem cells in a woman with AMD. The difference is that those stem cells were derived from the woman’s own skin. The research team announced last week that the woman was doing well and her AMD had not progressed.
Why did this new study use donor stem cells?
Because one downside to using a patients own stem cells is that these patients tend to be elderly and therefore may have genetic defects that could increase the risk of the procedure.
However, using donor stem cells isn’t perfect either. They don’t offer an exact genetic match and it raises the prospect of immune rejection.
There will be a total of 5 patients that will receive donor stem cells and all will be watched closely for rejection.