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- Retinal pigment epithelium
- retinal degeneration
- cell adhesion
- treatment other
Despite differing aetiology and pathology, degenerative retinal diseases including age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) culminate in photoreceptor cell death. Loss or damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is also a common feature of these somewhat disparate conditions.1 2 Currently no treatments are known to halt or reverse this cellular loss. Recent advances in gene therapy for degenerative retinal diseases have shown promise in both animal models3–5 and clinical trials.6–8 However, the long-term safety and efficacy of gene-replacement therapy are yet to be established. In addition, the effectiveness of such treatments will be somewhat limited in patients with advanced retinal degeneration, as a result of significant pre-existing cell loss. Thus, treatments which aim to replace dystrophic cells are desirable either alone or as an adjunct to gene therapy.
Transplantation and the retina
Positive outcomes of cell transplantation studies in animal models, such as the Royal College of Surgeons rat (RCS), have paved the way for human studies.9–11 Some efficacy has been demonstrated with transplantation of healthy photoreceptors,12 13 sheets of fetal neuroretina14–16 and donor iris …
Funding Financial support was provided by the National Institute for Health Research, National Eye Research Centre, British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society and Foresight RP.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.