'Miracle' cells could cure blindness

September 21, 2016

It's the most common cause of blindness in the Western world and there is no cure.

At least not yet.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects around 15 million people in theU.S. alone, and globally up to 30 million. For most victims, vitamins and pain relief are the best treatment available.

But Professor Pete Coffey of University College London is pioneering a new therapy that could stop the disease in its tracks, and restore vision to the blind, through the London Project to Cure Blindness.

AMD kills the eye's Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells that support and nourish the eye's vision center, the macula, which then also gradually dies. Victims experience a black spot in their vision that grows outward, while they lose the ability to read and recognize familiar faces.

Coffey has spent the past eight years creating and refining his treatment to restore vision and on August 11, 2015, the first patient received it.