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    Two recent genetic discoveries may offer hope for patients with advanced AMD


    In another area, a research discovery by a Japanese group in 2007 also may translate into a promising AMD therapy.

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    Investigators “discovered that by transiently expressing four cancer genes in adult cells, such as keratinocytes, the differentiated state can be erased and the cells turned into cells similar to those present in an embryo shortly after conception,” Dr. Stone recounted. “The discovery of these iPSCs raises the possibility of making transplantable retinal cells from a patient’s own skin and avoiding the lifelong immunosuppression often required when transplanting unmatched tissues.”

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    Researchers in his laboratory in Iowa City have expanded on this work and ultimately produced retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor precursors from the iPSCs.

    “By using some version of this research,” Dr. Stone said, “scientists will eventually be able to rebuild the human macula and restore some useful central vision in patients with extensive geographic atrophy.”

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