New research into use of stem-cell therapy to fight blindness

A new study aims to investigate the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells in combating the loss of vision in diseases such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

The study is a collaboration between the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Dr David Kent, consultant ophthalmologist, Aut Even Private Hospital, Kilkenny,

"AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the over-50s. It is estimated the condition affects over 60,000 adults here in Ireland," said Avril Daly, head of public affairs at Fighting Blindness.

"The WHO (World Health Organisation) has stated that the instances of AMD will triple in the next 25 years as our population ages, however there is currently no cure for the condition and awareness remains low."

Amy Lynch, a PhD student in REMEDI, NUI Galway, will investigate the therapeutic potential of stem cells to regenerate retinal cells in the macula area of the eye.

She will be supported by both Dr Kent and Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director, REMEDI.

Des Kenny, CEO of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) said: "We are very excited about the contribution this project will make to supporting people with sight loss in this country.

"We were delighted many years ago to have been able to support David Kent's choice of specialisation into this very important aspect of significant sight loss."

Further details of AMD can be found at www.amd.ie. REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway. Its website is www.remedi.ie.

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