Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced today that it will be funding clinical development of the UK stem cell research that shows promises to protect the eye from disease like age-related blindness and would also help to win permission from regulatory authorities to proceed the trials.
The new findings which is suppose to be one of the first successful applications originating from embryonic stem cells (ESC), would begin human trials within two years in UK.
Success of the eye patch created from embryonic stem cell is a unique proof that ESCs can indeed lead to valuable treatments, like prevention of blindness.
Pfizer will be taking forward the work in collaboration with Pete Coffey, the lead researcher of the team at University College London that has pioneered the work. Coffey and his team found the way to change the ESCs into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, which are highly required for perfect vision.
Coffey and his colleagues have already demonstrated that use of the RPE patches can save the sight of rats and pigs.
To avoid controversies researchers tried to build RPE patches from adult stem cells, but it is established that RPE patches made from embryonic stem cell’s are much more superior and effective than adult stem cells.