First stem cell trial in Europe
London – The first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells will be carried out at the Moorfields Eye hospital in London. Doctors will inject retinal cells into the eyes of 12 patients with Stargardt‘s macular dystrophy, a disease which causes progressive sight loss. The technology comes from US-biotech company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), which already has begun treating patients in California. The trial will test the safety of using replacement retinal cells known as retinal pigment epithelial cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells. The stem cell line was created in the United States several years ago. „Whilst principally a safety study, it will undoubted significantly add to the growing core of knowledge on cell therapies, thus helping advance the entire field“, said Chris Mason, Chair of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing at the University College London.