Stem Cell Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a retinal degenerative disease which causes progressive loss of central vision. The risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age. The disease most often affects people in their sixties and seventies. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of fifty.
The macula is the central portion of the retina responsible for perceiving fine visual detail. Light sensing cells in the macula, known as photoreceptors, convert light into electrical impulses and then transfer these impulses to the brain via the optic nerve. Central vision loss from macular degeneration occurs when photoreceptor cells in the macula degenerate.
The Cells4health Macular Degeneration Stem Cell Treatment
Macular patients are treated by implanting the stem cells behind the eye via retrobulbar injection under local anesthesia. These re-injected stem cells have the potential to transform into multiple types of cells and are capable of regenerating damaged tissue.
We believe that the retro-bulbar injection of autologous stem cells might first prevent the progression of dry and wet macular degeneration by reducing the drusen deposits in the retinal pigment epithelium beneath the macula. It might also prevent the destruction of the photoreceptors in both the dry and wet type by reactivating proper micro-vessel activity and reducing the abnormal blood vessel growth beneath.
Step 1 – Bone Marrow Collection
Bone marrow is collected from the patient’s iliac crest (hip bone) using thin-needle mini-puncture under local anesthesia. Although some pain is felt when the needle is inserted, most patients do not find the bone marrow collection procedure particularly painful. The entire procedure normally takes about 30 minutes.
Once the bone marrow collection is complete, patients may return to their hotel and go about normal activities. Patients who receive general anesthesia must lie down for a short recovery period before returning to their Hotel.
More detailed information on the bone marrow collection procedure is available in the Bone Marrow Informed Consent document (PDF file).
Step 2 – Laboratory Processing
The stem cells are processed from the bone marrow in a state-of-the-art, government approved (cGMP) laboratory. In the lab, both the quantity and quality of the stem cells are measured. These cells have the potential to transform into multiple types of cells and are capable of regenerating or repairing damaged tissue.
Step 3 – Stem Cell Implantation
The stem cells are implanted back into the patient via subretinal placement and/or retrobulbar injection by an experienced ophthalmologist.
Subretinal placment leverages very small catheters to precisely place the stem cells into specific locations of the retina where ophthalmic disease has destroyed photoreceptors or retinal pigment epithelial cells.
Retrobulbar means “behind the eye”. Therefore the stem cells are implanted into the space behind the eye ball by inserting a small needle under the bottom of the eye. The needle is then guided into the retrobulbar space. Once the needle is in the correct position, the stem cells are injected.
Eye treatments can be performed under local or general anesthesia.
Macular Degeneration Stem Cell Treatment Results
The following results are for one female patient, 45 years of age.
In the past, she had undergone several photodynamic laser macula treatments and two “lucentis” intra vitreo injections with a disastrous clinical result. Her clinical condition continued to worsen.
When she arrived for the first time, she had a central scotoma on the left eye and she was not able to count her fingers. In the right eye we observed the onset of macula degeneration with macula epiteliopathy and 9/10 corrected visual acuity that we have been able to preserve until the present.
Just two weeks after the treatment, during an objective, standardized examination, this patient showed significant improvement.
Read what our patients have to say about their treatment:
Willie Joswig, 81 years, Wet Macular Degeneration
“…my vision has significantly improved”
Nancy Rice, 75 years old, Dry Macular Degeneration
“…with stem cell implants the disease does not seem to progress! And that is so with me.”
Bill Baerlocher, 78 years old, Dry Macular Degeneration
“…My eyesight has improved from 20/400 to 20/150 in my left eye and from 20/80 to 20/70 in my right, as measured by my ophthalmologist in Seattle.”
Treatment Evaluation Process
In order to be evaluated for stem cell treatment, patients must complete an online medical history form. Once you’ve completed the online medical history and submitted it, a patient relations consultant will contact you. He or she will assist you with the rest of the evaluation process. Upon treatment approval, your consultant will also assist you with treatment scheduling and trip preparation.