Stem cell research to repair damaged retina blood vessels during diabetes

The Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration study (REDDSTAR) will see st cells from donors being isolated, expanded in a laboratory and re-delivered to a patient where they can help to repair blood vessels in the eye.
The ??6-million European Union-funded research is being carried out with NUI Galway and brings together experts from Northern Ireland, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and the United States.
Professor Alan Stitt, lead scientist and director of the centre at Queen’s, said: “The Queen’s component of the REDDSTAR study involves investigating the potential of a unique st cell population to promote repair of damaged blood vessels in the retina during diabetes. The impact could be profound for patients, because regeneration of damaged retina could prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy and reduce the risk of vision loss.”
He added that the project, which will work with st cells derived from bone marrow, was one of several regenerative medicine approaches ongoing at the centre.
“The approach is quite simple: we plan to isolate a very defined population of st cells and then deliver th to sites in the body that have been damaged by diabetes.
In the case of some patients with diabetes, they may gain enormous benefit from st cell-dedicated repair of damaged blood vessels in their retina. That is the first step towards an exciting new therapy in an area where it’s desperately needed.”

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