LONDON - A stem cell therapy to restore lost vision in older adults might be available by 2012, say researchers.

Scientists at University College London aim to kick off patient trials of the treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 2012.

If the tests prove successful, a treatment could be available four years later.

The research team are developing a treatment using embryonic stem cells to replace the cells lost in the eyes of people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“There is a carpet of cells at the back of the eye which support the seeing part of the eye, which is the retina,” the Scotsman quoted Professor Peter Coffey, from the Institute of Ophthalmology at UCL, as saying.

“That carpet of cells started to degenerate and die, and as a result the person goes blind because the seeing part of the retina no longer has the support that it needs.

“What we are looking at is whether we can put cells back to regenerate that middle layer,” he added.

Recent laboratory tests have shown promise, and the researchers are working towards producing cells suitable for clinical use.

They hope that the treatment could be in widespread use within six years. (ANI)