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Glaucoma: could bone marrow help prevent sight loss?

Scientists are investigating whether bone marrow stem cells could help to limit the loss of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma patients

bone marrow
Pixabay/Arek Socha

Cardiff University researchers are investigating whether bone marrow stem cells could help to prevent sight loss in glaucoma patients.

Scientists have already demonstrated that transplanting bone marrow stem cells into a model of glaucoma can prevent the death of retinal ganglion cells.

The team now aims to separate exosomes from the bone marrow stem cells to replicate the same benefits without the need for a transplant.

Research lead, Dr Ben Mead, of Cardiff University, shared that the team is working to compare exosomes from different stem cell types to determine which is the most effective and suitable for clinical testing.

“These bone marrow stem cells act as mini factories, secreting many positive factors which behave as protective agents for retinal ganglion cells. If we can isolate these exosome packages and replicate the same therapeutic effects without the need for a transplant, this will not only be a safer approach but it is also more effective as higher doses can be used,” he said.

The research is funded by Fight for Sight, in partnership with Glaucoma UK and Health and Care Research Wales.