NIH funding for 3D-transplantable retina research
AiVita Biomedical (Irvine, CA, USA) recently announced that they have received a grant from the National Eye Institute of Health (New York City, NY, USA) for the development of stem cell-derived, 3D-transplantable retinas to treat vision loss.
AiVita Biomedical (Irvine, CA, USA), a company involved in commercial and clinical-stage programs that utilize regenerative medicines, has recently announced that they have received a Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Eye Institute of Health (NIH; New York City, NY, USA) for the development of stem cell-derived, 3D-transplantable retinas that could be used to treat patients with severely impaired or deteriorated vision.
The project will be conducted in association with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California at Irvine (Irvine, CA, USA), where the team will test the transplantable retinas for safety and efficacy in relevant models of retinal degeneration. The collaborative effort intends to confront the deterioration of retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors that is commonly observed in patients with advanced degenerative eye disease, such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
Previous studies have demonstrated the restorative properties of transplanting stem cell-derived optic vesicles and optic cup-like structures within in vivo animal models of advanced retinal disease. The team proposes that use of a novel method that incorporates the transplantation of a complete retinal organoid, comprising laminated retinal progenitor cells combined with retinal pigment epithelium, may assist practitioners to expand the amount of retinal disorders and stages of disease that receive effective treatment.
“This award, in addition to the previously announced grant from CIRM, is a testament to the advances we are making in the transplantation of stem cell-derived 3D structures to treat vision loss,” commented Gabriel Nistor, CSO of AiVita. “We are very proud to have achieved the major milestone of restoring visual acuity in models of advanced retinal degeneration, using a human stem cell population that is ethically procured, renewable and cost effective.”