What could the new stem cell research mean for you?

Pete Coffey (left) and Lyndon Da Cruz (right)

The first patients to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have regained enough vision to be able to read. 

The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness, which was funded by the Macular Society in 2008.

What is the London Project to Cure Blindness?
The project is a partnership between University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It has been supported by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre. For more information go to www.moorfields.nhs.uk/londonproject

What is the focus of the study?
Researchers are investigating whether a stem cell-based treatment can improve vision for people with sudden severe vision loss caused by wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

What are the results?
The two patients who took part went from not being able to read at all, to reading 60-80 words per minute with normal reading glasses. The results suggest that the treatment is safe and effective.

Can you get this as a treatment?
It is not currently available as a treatment. The results are exciting, but it may take some years while further research is conducted before it could be available as a treatment.

Can you take part in this trial?
You cannot register your interest to take part in future trials for this particular study. The Macular Society is often approached to help find people to participate in clinical trials and research studies. Our research participant database is for anyone with a macular condition, as well as healthy family members and volunteers. You can sign up whether or not you are a member of the Macular Society by completing the form at www.macularsociety.org/database

How are patients selected to take part in other research at Moorfields?
Patients who are treated at Moorfields will be contacted if they fit the strict criteria for research studies. Patients can speak to their eye doctor the next time they visit.

How can you keep up-to-date with news about treatments and research into macular disease?
Join the Macular Society. You can try membership free for six months. During your no obligation free trial membership you will get our quarterly Sideview magazine, full of tips on living life to the full with sight loss, inspirational stories, and news from the macular community and our monthly enewsletter full of the latest news and information. Join today

Does the Macular Society fund biomedical research?
The Macular Society is one of only a few charities in the sight loss sector that funds biomedical research. We provided funding to the London Project to Cure Blindness in the early stages of the project and are extremely pleased that this very important milestone has been achieved. We are currently funding 16 projects to understand the causes of macular disease, find a cure, and improve lives for those living with macular degeneration today. We need to raise more money to fund more research into this devastating condition. Please donate