Envisioning Novel Approaches for Eye Disease: ‘The New Medicine’ at UC Santa Barbara

October 16, 2012

Amgen founder Bill Bowes gives $5 million to develop stem cell therapy for ocular disease; donation launches EMBODI, new biomedical initiative

By growing new retinal cells to replace those that have malfunctioned, scientists hope to one day create and fuse entire layers of fresh cells –– a synthetic patch akin to a contact lens –– as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration, the top cause of visual impairment among people over 60.

Such is the goal of an elite research team at UC Santa Barbara, which aims to advance the novel therapy out of the lab and into the clinic by way of regenerative bioengineering. With stem cells also showing great promise for diabetic retinopathy, the same group is taking a similar approach to this condition –– the leading cause of blindness in younger adults.