UC Irvine Receives Grant to Help Create Stem Cell Treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa
University of California, Irvine has received a grant of $17.3 million to cultivate therapeutically potent retinal progenitor stem cells to treat the blinding effects of retinitis pigmentosa, according to a news release.
The research team garnering the CIRM Disease Team Therapy Development Award is led by Dr. Henry Klassen, an associate professor of ophthalmology in UC Irvine's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. He is collaborating with researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Dr. Klassen's goal is to introduce stem cells that will rescue and reactivate damaged and dying photoreceptor rods and cones in the hopes of reversing the course of retinitis pigmentosa.
"We believe it's possible to rejuvenate a clinically significant number of cones in the degenerating retina," said Dr. Klassen, in the release. "Our methods have been validated, and I'm optimistic that stem cell-based treatments can help restore fading vision in people with eye diseases."
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