Freezing forward: A new method for preservation of age-related macular degeneration stem cell-based therapy

Stem cell therapy for age-related Macular Degeneration: A frozen leap ahead

The implant is made up of cells that are attached to the scaffold. This allows for the delivery of therapeutic cell to the affected area within the eye. RPT is currently conducting a Phase I/IIa trial using a non-cryopreserved version of this cellular treatment. The cryopreserved formula developed by Pennington and his colleagues will enable Phase IIb and III clinical trials, as well as the ultimate commercialization and application of the product.

Scientists from UC Santa Barbara and University of Southern California (USC) as well as the biotechnology firm Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC have developed a new method for preserving RPT’s stem-cell-based therapy for age related macular degeneration.

This new research, published recently in Scientific Reports optimizes the conditions for cryopreserve or freeze an implant consisting a single layer ocular stem cells derived from human embryonic cells, supported by a flexible 3x6mm scaffold. This implant is being tested in clinical trials for AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness among aging populations. The results show that the implant is able to be frozen and stored for long periods of time. It can then be distributed frozen to clinical sites, where it will be thawed out and implanted directly into the eyes. This and other cell based therapeutics can be cryopreserved to extend shelf life, and to enable on-demand delivery to distant clinical sites.

Britney Pennington, the lead author of the report, and her colleagues have achieved a significant milestone in bringing ocular implants closer to clinic. This is the first report to demonstrate high viability and functionality of adherent ocular cell adhesion following cryopreservation even after long-term freezing storage,\” said Pennington. She is head of RPT’s process development and an assistant project scientist at UC Santa Barbara.


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