Bone marrow stem cells could prevent sight loss

30-03-2021

Researchers examine if bone marrow stem cells could prevent damage caused by glaucoma.

Researchers funded by Fight for Sight, in partnership with Glaucoma UK and Health and Care Research Wales, hope to use bone marrow stem cells to prevent sight loss from glaucoma, without a transplant.

There are 500,000 people in the UK with Glaucoma, and it is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.

Chief Executive of Glaucoma UK, Karen Osborn, said: "Glaucoma is a complex eye disease. There's currently no cure and sight lost to glaucoma is irreversible. So we are delighted to partner with Fight For Sight and Health Care Research Wales to fund this important research which examines the possibility of using bone marrow stems cell to prevent damage caused by glaucoma."

Glaucoma is characterised by the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), leading to irreversible sight loss. The project, led by Dr Ben Mead at Cardiff University, comes after researchers have already demonstrated in the lab that they can preserve vision by transplanting bone marrow stem cells into a glaucoma model and preventing the death of these RGCs.

"We eagerly await the results of Dr Ben Mead's study to see if this could be a viable way to treat glaucoma patients without the need for a transplant. It's only thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we're able to fund research like this which could touch the lives of thousands of people living with glaucoma," said Karen.