Stem cell treatment makes progress

A new therapy for retinitis pigmentosa will be tested on 70 patients as part of a single-masked study


The safety and effectiveness of a stem cell treatment for retinitis pigmentosa will be tested through a phase IIB clinical trial.

Regenerative medicine company jCyte is beginning to recruit 70 patients for the single-masked study after positive results from a preliminary clinical trial.

The trial will assess changes in visual function among participants following treatment with the stem cell therapy, jCell. Aspects of visual function that will be assessed include visual acuity, visual fields, contrast sensitivity and the ability to navigate a mobility course.

jCell uses retinal progenitor cells (RPC) to rescue diseased retinal cells through a intravitreal injection that can be performed under topical anaesthesia.

jCyte chief executive officer, Paul Bresge, told OT that one of the strengths of the treatment was its simplicity.

“Because no surgery is required the therapy can be easily administered. The entire procedure takes minutes,” he explained.

Trial participants will receive a single RPC or control injection in their worst-sighted eye and be monitored over a period of 12-months.

Mr Bresge highlighted that retinitis pigmentosa was the leading cause of inherited blindness.

“The proposed treatment approach holds the potential to address a clear and urgent unmet medical need,” he emphasised.