Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has received IRB (institutional review board) approval for becoming the third clinical testing site in the U.S. for Advanced Cell Technology’s (ACT) embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells in treating dry age-related macular degeneration.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, located in Miami and voted eight years in a row as the Number One Eye Hospital by the U.S. News and World Report, is to be used as a site for ACT phase I/II human embryonic stem cell tests.
ACT, Inc. specializes in cell therapy in the curing of diseases. Its tests in the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute will target dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dry AMD is the result of photoreceptors in the retina becoming damaged or lost.
Says Gary Rabin, chairman and CEO of ACT, “”The prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked as the number one ophthalmology hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report eight years running, and has a particularly strong reputation in the area of macular degeneration.”
“”We could not be more pleased that the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been approved as an additional site for our clinical trial for dry AMD,” says Rabin. The two other locations in which these trials are to be carried out are UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, and the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. The Moorfields Eye Hospital in London is awaiting approval to take part in the trials.
The phase I/II trials will involve 12 patients. Through the tests, researchers hope to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of retinal epithelial cells (derived from human embryonic stem cells) being transplanted into eyes affected by dry AMD. Retinal epithelial cells nourish and protect the eye’s photoreceptors, the loss of which result in dry AMD.
AMD only affects people over the age of 55 and results in a lack of central vision.
The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute treats 250,000 patients affected by ophthalmic ailments yearly. Since it was established in 1962, 900+ physicians and researchers have been educated in Bascom Palmer. It currently has 80 faculty members and 1,200 staff, with all types of eye-related specialties represented.