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Stem cell results excite

Eight patients with retinitis pigmentosa have received a stem cell injection in a 28-person safety study

Stem cells

All 28 patients have been selected for an early-stage clinical trial of a stem cell therapy to treat retinitis pigmentosa – and initial results have proved promising, the company behind the treatment says.

Eight patients have now received the intravitreal injection of stem cells, intended as a rescue mechanism for the dying retinal cells and a potential source of new photoreceptors, and have been followed for one year.

The one-off procedure can be performed in an ophthalmologist’s office, using local anaesthesia.

Regenerative medicine company jCyte has announced that, based on the “exciting” results of this Phase I/IIa trial, it hopes to launch the Phase IIb trial next year.

A jCyte spokesman told OT that the Phase I/IIa trial, which has been conducted in California, focused on safety, adding: “The next trial, Phase IIb, will look at efficacy.”

In a statement from the company, jCyte co-founder, Dr Henry Klassen, highlighted that: “So far, trial participants have had no significant side effects, with good tolerance of the injected cells. We are quite gratified by the results."