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Pilot study suggests a role for autologous intravitreal CD34+ cells. The safety and feasibility of intravitreal autologous CD34+ bone marrow cells as a potential therapy for retinal disease were evaluated in a pilot study. Preliminary findings demonstrated the treatment was feasible and researchers intend to pursue a larger, prospective study with longer follow-up.

Intravitreal injection of autologous CD34+ stem cells from bone marrow may be both feasible and well tolerated in eyes with degenerative or ischemic retina diseases, said Susanna S. Park, MD, PhD.

Such conditions included age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt’s disease, said Dr. Park, professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of California-Davis Eye Center, Sacramento.

“This study is based on the first Investigational New Drug approved by the FDA for this route of CD34+ cell administration,” Dr. Park’s group said. While the findings are preliminary, “they demonstrate that the treatment was feasible, without any major safety concerns for the duration of the study follow-up.”

Dr. Park said these results support those found in preclinical observations. Her group intends on pursuing a larger, prospective study with longer follow-up to “further explore the safety and potential efficacy of this cellular therapy.”

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