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World J Stem Cells. 2016 Nov 26;8(11):376-383.

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in retinal and optic nerve diseases: An update of clinical trials.

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Sonia Labrador-Velandia, María Luz Alonso-Alonso, José Carlos Pastor, Iván Fernandez-Bueno, Girish Kumar Srivastava, Instituto Universitario de Oftalmobiología Aplicada, Universidad de Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain.


Retinal and optic nerve diseases are degenerative ocular pathologies which lead to irreversible visual loss. Since the advanced therapies availability, cell-based therapies offer a new all-encompassing approach. Advances in the knowledge of neuroprotection, immunomodulation and regenerative properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been obtained by several preclinical studies of various neurodegenerative diseases. It has provided the opportunity to perform the translation of this knowledge to prospective treatment approaches for clinical practice. Since 2008, several first steps projecting new treatment approaches, have been taken regarding the use of cell therapy in patients with neurodegenerative pathologies of optic nerve and retina. Most of the clinical trials using MSCs are in I/II phase, recruiting patients or ongoing, and they have as main objective the safety assessment of MSCs using various routes of administration. However, it is important to recognize that, there is still a long way to go to reach clinical trials phase III-IV. Hence, it is necessary to continue preclinical and clinical studies to improve this new therapeutic tool. This paper reviews the latest progress of MSCs in human clinical trials for retinal and optic nerve diseases.


Cell therapy; Clinical trials; Mesenchymal stem cells; Optic nerve diseases; Retinal diseases

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Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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