MARLBOROUGH, Mass.--(Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s tenth annual angiogenesis meeting, “Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration 2013,” on Saturday, February 9 in Miami, Fla.)--Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.’s (“ACT”; OTCBB: ACTC or the “Company”), clinical partner, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has received approval of its Investigator Investigational New Drug (IND) Application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), led by Steven Schwartz, M.D., Ahmanson Professor of Ophthalmology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and retina division chief at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute, to initiate a Phase I/II study using ACT’s retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to treat myopic macular degeneration (MMD, or myopia), commonly known as nearsightedness. The primary focus of the study will be to evaluate the safety in patients with severe myopia of the type that causes fissures in the RPE layer of the eye. Dr. Schwartz is the principal investigator in each of ACT’s two Phase I/II clinical trials for Stargardt's macular dystrophy and dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) using RPE cells derived from hESCs. The approval was announced by Dr. Schwartz in his presentation at
“Myopic degeneration is an increasingly important global cause of permanent central vision loss for which there is no accepted treatment. Applying our key learnings from the ongoing ACT-sponsored stem cell trials allows the research promise of regenerative medicine to include myopic vision loss.”
“We are encouraged by Dr. Schwartz’s keen interest in the evaluation of ACT’s RPE cells in potentially treating myopia,” commented Gary Rabin, chairman and CEO of ACT. “We are pleased to be on track to broaden the scope of our RPE program with the initiation of the new Investigator IND. Nearsightedness is a very common condition, worldwide, and it is estimated that roughly 30% of cases are high, or severe, myopia.”
The myopia clinical trial will follow a similar protocol as the company’s three other human clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe using hESC-derived RPE cells to treat forms of macular degeneration. The trial will enroll a total of 12 patients, with cohorts of three patients in an ascending dosage format. The trial is a prospective, open-label study designed to determine the safety and tolerability of hESC-derived RPE cells following sub-retinal transplantation into patients with myopia at 12 months, the study’s primary endpoint.
“We look forward to initiating the clinical trial,” commented Dr. Schwartz. “Myopic degeneration is an increasingly important global cause of permanent central vision loss for which there is no accepted treatment. Applying our key learnings from the ongoing ACT-sponsored stem cell trials allows the research promise of regenerative medicine to include myopic vision loss.”
Robert Lanza, M.D., ACT’s chief scientific officer, commented, “Myopia is one of the most common medical ailments in the world and myopic patients have a higher risk of permanent vision loss due to complications such as fissures in the RPE layer of the eye. We are anticipating Dr. Schwartz’s evaluations, potentially leading to a treatment for those patients at high risk of vision loss from this condition.”
About Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. is a biotechnology company applying cellular technology in the field of regenerative medicine. For more information, visit www.advancedcell.com.
About the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA
Established in 1966, the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA represents the culmination of a dream shared by ophthalmologist, businessman and philanthropist Dr. Jules Stein and his wife, Doris, of creating a world-renowned center dedicated to the preservation of vision and the prevention of blindness. The Institute’s comprehensive programs for the care of patients with eye disorders, research in the vision sciences, education in the field of ophthalmology and outreach to the community, coupled with its state-of-the art facilities, have brought national and international recognition to UCLA and the Institute, as it continues its mission to advance ophthalmology worldwide.
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