Regenerative medicine in the retina: from stem cells to cell replacement therapy


J. Oswald, P. Baranov | Ther Adv Ophthalmol. | 2018


Following the fast pace of the growing field of stem cell research, retinal cell replacement is finally emerging as a feasible mean to be explored for clinical application. Although neuroprotective treatments are able to slow the progression of retinal degeneration caused by diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, they are insufficient to fully halt disease progression and unable to recover previously lost vision. Comprehensive, technological and intellectual advances over the past years, including the in vitro differentiation of retinal cells at manufacturing scale from embryonic stem (ES) cell and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell cultures, progress within the area of retinal disease modeling, and the first clinical trials have started to shape the way towards addressing this treatment gap and translating retinal cell replacement to the clinic. Here, summarize the most recent advances within retinal cell replacement from both a scientific and clinical perspective, and discuss the remaining challenges towards the delivery of the first retinal cell products.