Adult stem cells derived from bone marrow are showing promise as a treatment for peripheral vision loss associated with glaucoma, according to Steven Levy, MD. He is the president of MD Stem Cells and study director of the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study (SCOTS).
“We have been observing improvements in a number of patients with different optic nerve and retinal diseases following stem cell treatment in the study,” Dr. Levy said in a statement. “We have been reporting periodically on patients and their progress, and we’re pleased with the early peripheral vision improvement seen in a recent glaucoma patient.”
The man, aged 64 years, had significant glaucoma damage and was legally blind due to his near total loss of peripheral vision; his central vision before treatment was 20/70 in both eyes. The man was enrolled in arm 2 of SCOTS, and in each eye he received three separate injections of adult stem cells from his own bone marrow. On a follow-up exam 10 weeks after treatment, his peripheral vision had improved from a mean deviation of –31.30 dB pre-treatment to –27.08 dB, about a 14% improvement. Similarly, peripheral vision in his left eye improved from a mean deviation of –31.17 dB to –28.83 dB.
“While modest, the early improvements are notable for their positive direction and relatively early onset,” Dr. Levy said. “Equally important, they were appreciated by the patient.”