All Posts tagged Retinal Transplantation

Stem Cell Clinics

Recent practices at “stem cell clinics” in the United States have resulted in blinding complications for three patients who underwent bilateral intravitreal injection of adipose-derived stem cell injections for dry age-related macular degeneration, as recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine: patient’s vision went from 20/30 to no light perception and 20/200.

The “stem cell clinics” problem is that they provide unproven, unregulated, and costly ($50,000) treatment for a variety of disorders and raise high concern for patients.

By having studies listed on clinicaltrials.gov, “stem cell clinics” seemingly bolster their legitimacy to patients. clinicaltrials.gov website is simply a repository of clinical studies and does not judge the merits of the listed studies.

It is important to encourage patients to speak with a “trusted healthcare professional” prior to enrolling in a study. Exploring the difference between the positive stem cell research and the activities carried out at “stem cell clinics” is essential in preventing such catastrophic outcomes.

Further regulation of these “stem cell clinics” is also necessary to help prevent similar outcomes in the future.

References

“Implications of Stem Cell Clinics for Retina Patients and Clinical Trials” Retinal Physician, Volume 14, Issue: May 2017, page(s) 32,40: Ajay E. Kuriyan, MD, MS; Thomas Albini, MD; Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD

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“The Growing ‘Stem Cell Clinic’ Problem” American Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 177, xix–xx: Ajay E. Kuriyan, MD, MS; Thomas Albini, MD; Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD

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Acknowledgement of Our Research on Retinal Transplantation

Paul S. Baker, M.D., and Gary C. Brown from the Retina Service, Wills Eye Institute, Jefferson Medical College, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote an article “Stem-cell therapy in retinal disease” for Current Opinion in Ophthalmology 2009; 20:175-181. They stated on page 178 of the article:

Although some studies were unable to demonstrate any positive effect on vision, other patients transplanted with fetal retinal sheets showed improved visual acuity over time (up to 6 years) [57**, 58].

The unprecedented double starring of our article in the reference meant “of outstanding interest.”

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