Professor Del Priore's goal is to use stem cell transplantation to treat age-related macular degeneration and peripheral retinal degenerations. Retinal degenerations are the leading cause of blindness in the world. This team is inducing hESC to differentiate into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) or neural retinal cells by seeding the hESC onto human Bruch's membrane (BM) explants prior to transplantation into animal models of human retinal degeneration. This is the first time human BM will be used for this purpose. Simultaneously they are initiating studies on isolation of tissue-specific stem cells from the eye, and investigating the efficacy of transplanting tissue-specific and differentiated hESC into animal models of retinal degenerations.
Gong J, Sagiv O, Cai H, Tsang SH, Del Priore LV. Effects of extracellular matrix and neighboring cells on induction of human embryonic stem cells into retinal or retinal pigment epithelial progenitors. Exp Eye Res. 2008 Jun;86(6):957-65. Epub 2008 Mar 28
Tezel TH, Del Priore LV, Berger AS, Kaplan HJ. Adult retinal pigment epithelial transplantation in exudative age-related macular degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Apr;143(4):584-95. Epub 2007 Feb 14.