ACT's Embryonic Stem Cell Trial For Blindness

From Singularity Hub: "the US FDA has granted approval for clinical trials for a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells. Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), a Massachusetts based bio-firm, recently announced that they had secured approval for human trials of their retinal pigment epithelial cells to treat Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy. SMD causes blindness, generally among youths 10 to 20 years in age, and affects less than 200,000 people in the US. The recently approved trials will only involve 12 patients, and are looking primarily to establish that using the ACT cells is safe. There is hope, however, that the vision of those treated could be improved or restored. In the longer term a success for embryonic stem cells here could lead to treatments for other forms of blindness. Yet as exciting as this study may be it's also a sad reminder of how long it has taken to get embryonic stem cells approved for human trials. ... I'm also frustrated, as I know many of you are as well, that promising stem cell technologies are taking so long to get to patients. Both Geron and ACT had remarkable success in their animal models. Geron got mice walking again after spinal injury and ACT had 100% success with getting rodents to grow new retinal cells after treatments (100 percent!). It's disappointing to think that either a) the FDA doesn't recognize the overwhelming potential of these treatments and isn't willing to help them move along as fast as possible OR b) has been helping them, and this is as fast as it possibly can get."



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