Progress with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Stem Cell Research at UCI



Aside from donations made to their annual Vision Walk, the Andrei Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and their efforts to find a cure for retinal degeneration. Large strides have been made over the past couple of years in research on Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and it has recently been announced that clinical trials for stem cell treatment on patients could take place within a year if granted FDA approval.

Leading the trials is UCI stem cell pioneer, Henry Klassen, M.D., Ph.D, and they will involve the injection of retinal progenitors — stem cells that have partially developed into retinal cells — into the patient’s vitreous, where they’ll release factors to preserve and rescue existing retinal tissue. It also has the potential to rescue a variety of retinal cells — including rods, cones, retinal pigment epithelium and ganglion cells. Overall, a very promising approach that could mean a major breakthrough in the fight against not only Retinitis Pigmentosa, but a whole array of other retinal diseases.