Development of human embryonic stem cell therapies for age-related macular degeneration

Trends Neurosci. 2013 Jul;36(7):385-95. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults and ultimately leads to the death of photoreceptor cells in the macular area of the neural retina. Currently, treatments are only available for patients with the wet form of AMD. In this review, we describe recent approaches to develop cell-based therapies for the treatment of AMD. Recent research has focused on replacing the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a monolayer of cells vital to photoreceptor cell health. We discuss the various methods used to differentiate and purify RPE from human embryonic stem cells (HESC), and describe the surgical approaches being used to transplant these cells in existing and forthcoming clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Animals
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / surgery*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / cytology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*