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INSIDE INDUSTRY
California Stem Cell partners on CIRM grant to develop transplantable 3D retinas

California Stem Cell, Inc. (CSC) has initiated a collaborative study with the University of California, Irvine (UCI) aimed to create transplantable 3D retinal tissue. The study, funded by a $4.5 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), is a continuation of methods pioneered by CSC scientists in 2010, and will investigate the potential of improving a patient's visual function by transplanting human stem cell-derived three-dimensional (3D) retinal tissue into their retina.

"California Stem Cell looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to work that has the potential to help millions suffering from life-altering retinal diseases."

California Stem Cell, using its specialized cGMP manufacturing facility and regulatory personnel, will differentiate human stem cells into retinal progenitor cells. These cells will then be co-cultured with stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium to create a 3D tissue structure suitable for transplantation. Proof of concept in-vivo studies will take place at UCI's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. Transplants are expected to develop into mature retina, interact with the host tissue, and subsequently improve the vision of retinal degenerative recipients. The study, if successful, could lead to new treatments for incurable retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration, leading causes of vision loss for people age 50 and older1.

CSC President & CEO Hans Keirstead, Ph.D. will lead the study's work at CSC. "This study establishes a valuable partnership between ourselves and a team of very talented scientists at a university known for its excellence in research," said Keirstead. "California Stem Cell looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to work that has the potential to help millions suffering from life-altering retinal diseases."

The project adds to CSC's pipeline of programs, which also includes two additional human stem cell-based preclinical therapeutic programs for motor neuron disease.

Source: Business Wire

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