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University of Virginia, School of Medicine

Stem Cells to Block Diabetic Blindness 

University of Virginia researchers have taken a significant step forward in their efforts to use stem cells to block vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects millions of people with diabetes. The researchers have evaluated the best potential sources for adult stem cells to be used for that purpose, determining that cells taken from donors who do not suffer diabetes likely will be more effective than cells taken from patients’ own bodies.


The work is a critical step toward the goal of injecting stem cells into patients’ eyes to stop or even reverse their vision loss. The findings also establish a crucial framework for evaluating stem cells to be used in potential future treatments for diabetic retinopathy.


“It answers a vital question: If we’re going to carry this therapy forward into clinical trials, where are we going to get the best bang for the buck?” said U.Va. researcher and ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Yates of the School of Medicine. “The answer seems to be, probably, taking cells from patients who aren’t diabetic. Because the diabetic stem cells don’t seem to work quite as well. And that’s not terribly surprising, because we already know that this cell type is damaged by diabetes.”



Harry Moxley, Producer/Director/DP/Editor




Original Videography


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