On the heels of news that a fourth patient - this one at Stanford - has participated in Geron's human embryonic stem cell trial, Massachusetts-based Advanced Cell Technology has announced its plans to conduct the first ESC cell trial outside the United States. Spoonful of Medicine reports:
The trial will essentially be a repeat performance of one of ACT’s ongoing trials in the US, but this time conducted at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Led by Moorfields ophthalmologist James Bainbridge, the trial, which is scheduled to begin before the end of the year, will use retinal cells derived from ESCs to treat 12 people suffering from Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, a progressive juvenile vision loss disorder that affects about one in every 10,000 children.
According to [Robert Lanza, MD, ACT’s chief scientific officer] in the near future ACT also expects to gain UK approval to use the same cell therapy to treat people with age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in the elderly and the other disease currently under investigation by the company in US trials. Meanwhile, ACT is also in late-stage talks with regulators and clinicians in France, China and elsewhere to launch further global trials.