We present the results from a patient with relapsing optic neuropathy treated within the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study (SCOTS). SCOTS is an Institutional Review Board approved clinical trial and has become the largest ophthalmology stem cell study registered at the National Institutes of Health to date (www.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier NCT 01920867). SCOTS utilizes autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs) for treatment of retinal and optic nerve diseases. Pre-treatment and post-treatment comprehensive eye exams of a 54 year old female patient were performed both at the Florida Study Center, USA and at The Eye Center of Columbus, USA. As a consequence of a relapsing optic neuritis, the patient's previously normal visual acuity decreased to between 20/350 and 20/400 in the right eye and to 20/70 in the left eye. Significant visual field loss developed bilaterally. The patient underwent a right eye vitrectomy with injection of BMSCs into the optic nerve of the right eyeand retrobulbar, subtenon and intravitreal injection of BMSCs in the left eye. At 15 months after SCOTS treatment, the patient's visual acuity had improved to 20/150 in the right eye and 20/20 in the left eye. Bilateral visual fields improved markedly. Both macular thickness and fast retinal nerve fiber layer thickness were maximally improved at 3 and 6 months after SCOTS treatment. The patient also reduced her mycophenylate dose from 1,500 mg per day to 500 mg per day and required no steroid pulse therapy during the 15-month follow up.
Keywords: Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study; autoimmune; blindness; bone marrow-derived stem cells; nerve regeneration; neural regeneration; ophthalmology; optic nerve; optic neuropathy; stem cells; visual loss.