Human Retinal Stem Cell Production
Human Retinal Stem Cell Production
A rapid and efficient method to produce human multi-potent retinal cells under defined conditions. Remarkably, these cells can be directed toward a specific retinal cell fate in vitro, including RGCs, photoreceptors or RPE. Furthermore, multi-potent retin
San Diego, CA, United States
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Background

Retinal degeneration affects millions of people worldwide and currently there is no effective therapy. Leading causes of irreversible blindness include: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and retinal vascular diseases, which are characterized by loss of retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), photoreceptors, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and supporting cells in the retina.

Using multi-potent retinal stem cells of this invention to replenish damaged retina with desirable cell types represents a promising therapeutic approach. These cells are less likely than pluripotent cells to form tumors and primary retinal progenitor cells from adult retinal or human fetal tissues have limited expansion capacity and differentiation potential or insufficient quantity of fetal retinal progenitors, with possible ethical concerns. Accordingly, there is a medical need for renewable retinal stem cells with a potential to repopulate both RPE and photoreceptors in degenerated retina with little or no risk of forming tumors.


Technology Description

UC San Diego investigators, Drs Kang Zhang, Jiagang Zhao and Adah Almutairi, have developed a rapid and efficient method to produce human multi-potent retinal cells under defined conditions. Remarkably, these cells can be directed toward a specific retinal cell fate in vitro, including RGCs, photoreceptors or RPE. Furthermore, multi-potent retinal cell transplants can survive and integrate and importantly differentiate into photoreceptors in the degenerating retina of RCS rats. This invention may provide a renewable source of cells for therapeutic applications in retinal regeneration.

This invention may provide an efficient, cost effective, GMP applicable method for producing both neuronal and non-neuronal retinal cells.


Applications

Possible commercial applications may include a use of the method to develop suitable cell types for cell-based therapy to treat retinal degeneration, disease in a dish modeling and drug screening.

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