Engineering and imaging for the future delivery of stem cells to the retina with Professor Lyndon da Cruz
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – whether in wet or dry form – and many other acquired or genetic retinal diseases are eventually dominated by cell loss and consequent vision loss.
Neural loss of any type including that of the retina has always been considered irreversible, as these cells rarely retain the ability to regenerate. The recent identification of stable stem cell sources and advances in stem cell technology have transformed this area of research science into an important area of strong therapeutic possibility.
Previous studies have shown that vision loss from AMD can be reversed through transplantation of human embryonic stem cells, which can be successfully developed into retinal pigment epithelial cells.
This seminar will also briefly discuss the recent advances in neuro-retinal and vascular reconstructions using stem cells, which will be necessary if this area of research medicine is to genuinely contribute to the treatment of retinal disease.
With the advent of these new cellular therapies there is a pressing need for engineering solutions for precise delivery of cells and reconstructed tissues as well as the accurate imaging of the diseased retina preoperatively, in order to plan delivery.
Professor Lyndon da Cruz did both his medical undergraduate and doctorate training at the University of Western Australia. He carried out his post doctoral research on the Howard Florey fellowship (NHMRC and Royal Society) in London. He completed retinal specialty training in both the UK and Australia. He is currently a consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. He holds the academic position of Professor of Stem Cell and Retinal Transplantation Surgery, at University College London.
Professor da Cruz is chief investigator and surgeon for the bionic eye implantation project in London, which remains the largest recruiting centre in the international trial. Prof da Cruz’s interest also includes work with stem cell therapy and translocation and transplantation surgery for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He is also currently clinical lead on The London Project for transplanting stem-cell-derived retinal cells for the treatment of AMD.