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Research to Prevent Blindness

New Stem Cell Model Replicates Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults, but scientists have long struggled to study and replicate key elements of the disease in the lab. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to demonstrate hallmarks of macular degeneration in a new human stem cell model developed by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). 

This new model could make whole new avenues of macular degeneration research possible and has helped the team hone in on some possible drug targets for the disease.

Human induced pluripotent stem cell-retinal pigment epithelium in a dish.

 

Image credit: Sonal Dalvi (Singh lab, University of Rochester)

“So far, there has not been a patient-derived model of macular degeneration,” said RPB Career Development Award recipient Ruchira Singh, PhD, assistant professor of Ophthalmology in the Flaum Eye Institute at URMC and lead author of the study. “It was not known if you can take cells from the human eye and make a cell model that displays the hallmarks of the disease.”

Read the full press release from URMC

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