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UK scientists set their sights on cure for AMD

equently leak fluid resulting in exudative or so called wet AMD.

The London Projects approach will involve production of a cell replacement therapy from human embryonic stem cells, which are effective in replacing dysfunctional RPE and photoreceptors found in AMD, leading to a surgical therapy capable of stabilising and restoring vision in the vast majority of patients. Surgical procedures already developed and trialled in a number of patients using the patients own cells have illustrated that a cell replacement therapy can work.

Professor Pete Coffey, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and director on the London Project, said: The London Project aims to deliver treatment for a disease which has no alternative therapy. Using stem cells which are far more adaptable can only improve success of what has already been achieved and in addition establish this as a global therapy. This is achievable as a result of bringing together a number of groups who previously were trying to solve the same problem in isolation. The Project aims to engage scientists, clinicians and the public to ensure success through actively attracting and promoting the inclusion of other laboratories, hospitals and institutions by an open access policy and by informing the public of progress.

Dr Lyndon Da Cruz, lead clinician and consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: The Project is important as it develops a cellular based therapy for a currently untreatable condition. The beauty of this Project is that there are three specialist groups working in parallel; a team in Sheffield, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital. Working in conjunction, they will be respectively safety testing the cells in Sheffield, confirming that the cells are RPE cells and preparing them in a form for transplant at the Institute of Ophthalmology, and developing the strategies for the surgery and patient selection based on studies on transplanting a
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Contact: Dominique Fourniol
d.fourniol@ucl.ac.uk
020-767-99726
University College London
5-Jun-2007


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