AMD and stem cells are back in the news.

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.

Jaclyn Garlich
Dr. Garlich graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2010 and completed a residency in primary care and ocular disease at the St. Louis VA. In 2013, she developed an optometry clinical reference mobile app available in the iTunes store. In 2016, she founded 20/20 Glance, a weekly optometry newsletter that gives a rundown on clinically relevant optometry news in an easy to digest format.

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