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Publication Date: 22 September 2011
New trial for retinal stem cell treatment gets go-ahead at Moorfields Eye Hospital
Trials of an experimental new treatment that could offer hope to young people suffering from a currently untreatable inherited eye condition will get underway soon at Moorfields Eye Hospital following approval today, Thursday 22 September, by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The trials, due to start in the next few months, will investigate the safety of using retinal cells derived from stem cells to treat people with advanced Stargardt disease, a form of macular degeneration that causes disabling loss of sight in young people. The cells will be injected into the retina during an operation lasting up to an hour.
“There is real potential that people with blinding disorders of the retina, including Stargardt disease and age-related macular degeneration, might benefit in the future from transplantation of retinal cells,” says retinal surgeon Professor James Bainbridge, who will be conducting the trials at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
“The ability to regenerate retinal cells from stem cells in the laboratory has been a significant advance and the opportunity to help translate such technology into new treatments for patients is hugely exciting. Testing the safety of retinal cell transplantation in this clinical trial will be an important step towards achieving this aim.”
“We are delighted to be the site for these very exciting new clinical trials in stem cell therapy, which have the potential to give hope and make such a difference to the lives of people with currently untreatable blinding retinal conditions,”adds Professor Peng Khaw, director of the biomedical research centre at Moorfields.
“It is crucial that we continue to attract external investment for world-leading research in the UK, through the NIHR’s transformational investment in research infrastructure through national biomedical research centres such as ours here at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. "
The technology has been developed by US company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), who got the go ahead to run similar trials in the United States in November 2010.
Notes to editors
Please contact the press office on 020 7566 2628 for further information.
Further information for patients is available here.
The Moorfields Eye Hospital/UCL Institute of Ophthalmology NIHR Biomedical Research Centre is a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Established in April 2007, its purpose is to conduct 'translational research' that is designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs. Our centre is currently one of 12 biomedical research centres that were awarded in 2007 to NHS/university partnerships with an outstanding international reputation for medical research and expertise, and experience of translating that research into the clinical setting.
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trustis one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, providing expertise in clinical care, research and education. We have provided excellence in eye care for more than 200 years and we continue to be at the forefront of new breakthroughs and developments. We are an integral part of one of the UK’s first academic health science centres, UCL Partners, and recently celebrated five years as one of the country’s first NHS foundation trusts.
UCL Institute of Ophthalmologyis one of a number of specialised research centres linked to UCL (University College London) and is, together with Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of the leading centres for eye research worldwide. The most recent Research Assessment Exercise confirmed the outstanding quality of research carried out at the Institute, with 40 per cent of investigators ranked 4* (world-leading) together with a further 30 per cent ranked as internationally excellent. The combination of the Institute’s research resource with the resources of Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has the largest ophthalmic patient population in the Western World, opens the way for advances at the forefront of vision research.
- For further information, please contact Moorfields press office on 020 7566 2628
- Moorfields is one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, providing expertise in clinical care, research and education. We have provided excellence in eye care for more than 200 years and we continue to be at the forefront of new breakthroughs and developments. We are an integral part of one of the UK’s first academic health science centres, UCL Partners, and recently celebrated five years as one of the country’s first NHS foundation trusts.
- We treat the entire range of eye diseases, from common complaints to rare conditions which require treatments not available anywhere else in the UK. We dealt with more than 450,000 patient visits in 2010/11 at our main hospital base in London’s City Road and at 19 other sites in and around the capital, enabling us to provide expert care closer to patients’ homes.
- With our research partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, we run one of the largest ophthalmic research programmes in the world and have the highest measure of scientific productivity and impact in the world for our research activity.