London Project - Seeing the light
Updated: Mar 26, 2018
The London Project to Cure Blindness has taken a big step forward toward curing one of the world's most common form of blindness - age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The first patients have regained their sight after receiving retinal tissue engineered by the London Project from stem cells.
AMD is an eye disease which affects 25 percent of over 60's in the UK, approximately 3 million people in the UK alone. The macular is part of the eye that allows you to see straight ahead. When the rods and cones on the retinal pigment epithelium stop regenerating and fail, they patients sight is compromised, and they gradually go blind. What the London Project have achieved is to build a new retinal pigment epithelium and surgically implant it into the eye. The technique, described here in Nature Biotechnology, takes stem cells, develops them into the type of cell that makes up the retinal pigment epithelium and embeds them into a living frame which holds them in place. The resultant living patch is about 40 microns deep and 6mm long and 4mm wide. It is then placed into the patient's eye underneath the rods and cones in the back of the eye.
Redstone has been close to the team ever since one of our founders, Mark Alexander, was involved in raising money for the project in 2014 and was part of the team that donated the livery of this Storholm racing 24 hr Le Mans race car.
We love the London project's capacity to change lives. Their dedication, teamwork, and their big scary goal. It's inspiring. Well done to all the team. Professor Lyndon da Cruz at Moorfields, Professor Pete Coffey at UCL, and most of all Yasmyn who did such a great job in bringing us all together and staying in touch.