18 Dec Manage Macular Degeneration With Stem Cell Treatments
Age-related macular degeneration, called AMD for short, is the main reason that seniors begin to lose their vision. More than 11 million Americans are afflicted with the condition, which currently has no known treatment.
Researchers are considering the use of stem cell treatments to help people who are struggling with AMD. This article explores some of the available research and explains how it can be useful for people who struggle with AMD. If you are developing AMD, a Chicago stem cell treatment center may be able to help.
How AMD Affects the Body
There are two types of AMD, known as wet AMD and dry AMD. Both conditions are quite complicated and result from a number of different factors. Wet AMD involves physical damage done to the eye’s photoreceptors. In essence, cellular detritus gathers beneath the retina and begins to distort vision by causing damage to blood vessels which, in turn, causes problems with your photoreceptors.
Dry AMD is a bit different. In this condition, cells in the retina begin to atrophy. This damages the photoreceptors, causing them to lose function.
How Could Stem Cells Help With AMD?
Stem cell therapy has shown some promise for helping people who struggle with AMD.
This is because stem cell therapy involves implanting a certain type of ‘base’ cell into the patient’s body. These host cells can adopt the roles of other similar cells, effectively repairing or replacing damaged cells.
There have only been a few clinical trials done on the use of stem cell treatments for managing AMD. However, the results from these few studies are quite promising.
One such study followed the use of embryonic stem cells. These cells were implanted in people who had advanced-stage, dry macular degeneration. All subjects showed some improvement, with one patient noting a significant improvement in their visual acuity. Other patients redeveloped their capability to focus on objects.
There are ethical concerns related to the use of embryonic stem cells. On top of this, patients using embryonic stem cells must take immunosuppressants to ensure that the body doesn’t reject the new cells. Immunosuppressants are known to cause a number of complications on their own. That is why we are encouraged to visit a stem cell specialist to know if we are a candidate for stem cell therapy.
Other studies have been done on patients using induced pluripotent stem cells which are derived from a patient’s own bodily tissues. While these treatments are still yet to be approved, they show a lot of promise in preliminary studies.
One study, done at the National Eye Institute in Maryland, engaged the use of these stem cells. Results from this study are currently pending, but researchers are hopeful. Another study, done in Japan, used these cells in a senior with AMD. Her vision returned after a year.
The current research is promising for treating AMD, You may want to talk to a doctor at a Chicago stem cell treatment center if you are interested in learning more about this novel form of treatment.