English
+38 068 889 89 89
00380689869898 (汉语)
00380930552240 (باللغة العربية)
00380930552240 (باللغة العربية)
+38 044 223 28 95
Contact us

The first UK patient receives embryonic stem cell treatment for Stargardt’s disease

The first patient from the UK has recently received embryonic stem cell transplant to treat his Stargardt’s disease which he suffers the most part of his life. Overall, he is the third person in the world to receive the treatment involving embryonic stem cells after the two patients from the US. This became possible within the safety trial conducted by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) which aim is to make sure there are no damaging effects of the treatment.

Stargardt's disease is a condition when the central vision of the eyes gets destroyed at an early age. The vision of a person with this disease gets limited to what the healthy eyes catch on the edge of the field of vision. Marcus Hilton, now 34, is the first patient from the UK to undergo the treatment, has been suffering the disease since he was about 10.

In the trial, scientists used retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells produced from stem cells that were originally derived from embryos that stayed unused in infertility treatment. Hilton was injected 50,000 RPE cells – a small amount – under the retina of his right eye. After being unable to see the blackboard for the most part of his life, he now appreciates small but sure changes in his vision that were possible due to the stem cell treatment. Another woman with Stargardt's could count fingers after being able to discern only hand movements.

Compared to other diseases and conditions, treating eye diseases with stem cells is safer. The eye is "immune privileged": it won’t reject a graft of human tissue or stem cells. So there is no need to take immuno-suppressant drugs during the whole life, though Hilton is taking the drugs as a precaution.

The scientists find the effects of the treatment very promising. They hope they will be able to restore the sight of people with Stargardt’s disease and macular degeneration that affects millions of older people. The effects will be more remarkable if the higher number of cells is injected to the patient. Also, the earlier treatment starts, the more effective it will be.

Fetal stem cells treatment results depend on: disease's severity, age of the patient, adherence for the medications and regime. Treatment results, presented on this site, are individual for each clinical case.