Pfizer backs retina stem cell research

July 8, 2008

Pfizer is to fund research into the application of stem cells in degenerative retinal disease through a $3 million investment in EyeCyte, a company based in California, US.

Pfizer is to fund research into the application of stem cells in degenerative retinal disease through a $3 million investment in EyeCyte, a company based in California, US.

EyeCyte, a spin-off of the laboratory of Professor Martin Friedlander, MD, PhD at the Scripps Research Institute, is currently investigating the role of stem and progenitor cells in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Other acquired and inherited retinal diseases the company is investigating include age-related macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, retinal vascular occlusive disease and retinitis pigmentosa.

Professor Friedlander's research, funded by grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has demonstrated that stem cells and progenitor cells can target neovascularization and halt the degeneration of the vasculature in animal models.