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Regen Med. 2009 Nov;4(6):855-64. doi: 10.2217/rme.09.59.

Using stem cells to mend the retina in ocular disease.

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  • 1Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, Cambridge, CB2 0PY, UK.


Retinal degenerative diseases are the leading cause of incurable blindness worldwide. Furthermore, existing pharmacological and surgical interventions are only partially effective in halting disease progression, thus adjunctive neuroprotective strategies are desperately needed to preserve vision. Stem cells appear to possess inherent neuroprotective abilities, at least in part by providing neurotrophic support to injured neurons. Advances in stem cell biology offer the hope of new therapies for a broad range of neurodegenerative conditions, including those of the retina. Experimental cell-mediated therapies also hint at the tantalizing possibility of achieving retinal neuronal replacement and regeneration, once cells are lost to the disease process. This article summarizes the latest advances in cell therapies for neuroprotection and regeneration in neurodegenerative pathologies of both the inner and outer retina.

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