Qin Liu, Bond UniversityFollow
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the population over 60 in the western world. There are two clinical forms of AMD: dry and wet. The initial damage of AMD is the dysfunction of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and the underlying supportive Bruch’s membrane, which results in the dysfunction or loss of photoreceptors. Subsequently the patients undergo blindness. Currently there is no therapy for the dry AMD which accounts for the majority of the cases (~90%). Cell-based therapy, replacing the damaged cells in the retina, is the most promising treatment. Our rationale is to engineer a therapeutic intact functional RPE monolayer derived from human stem cells on the prosthetic Bruch’s membrane ready for subretinal implantation in order to restore the vision. We are able to develop a 3-dimensional nanofibrous membrane with surface modification which mimics the natural human Bruch’s membrane. The prosthetic Bruch’s membrane is made of FDA approved polymer which gives advantages for clinical application. A long-term functional RPE monolayer has been engineered on such substrate and is ready for subretinal implantation to investigate its potential of visual improvement. A further step is to develop a retinal multilayer consisting of the photoreceptors and RPE, which can benefit not only the AMD but also the other retinal diseases.
Data in the form of interviews, statistics and images.
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