News & Media

April 05, 2018

A UC Santa Barbara collaboration publishes its clinical trial preliminary findings for a bioengineered retinal pigment epithelial monolayer for advanced, dry age-related macular degeneration. Non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NNAMD) is a progressive blinding disease primarily due to loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the eye. Currently, there is no effective treatment for NNAMD. Now, Kashani and colleagues have developed a clinical-grade retinal implant made of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)–derived RPE grown on a synthetic substrate. In a first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial in five patients with advanced NNAMD, the implant was shown to be safe and well tolerated. Preliminary results reported potential therapeutic effects on visual acuity, suggesting that this approach might be useful for treating retinal disorders involving RPE loss.

The paper is featured as the cover story of Science Translational Medicine April 2018, link below. 

April 05, 2018

A team of doctors, engineers and scientists — including UC Santa Barbara stem cell researchers Dennis Clegg, Lincoln Johnson, Sherry Hikita and Britney Pennington — has published the preliminary results of a first-in-human clinical trial for dry AMD. Four patients received implants consisting of human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which support light-sensitive photoreceptor cells critical to vision. The phase 1/2A trial, led by Dr. Amir Kashani, is being conducted at the University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute at the campus’s Keck School of Medicine. 

March 23, 2018

Lindsay Bailey-Steinitz has won Best Poster at the Ocular Diseases and Drug Discovery conference in San Diego. The conference brings together leading scientists, researchers, and experts to discuss and collaborate on combating and curing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), dry eye, glaucoma, diabetic macular edema (DME), and other ocular diseases. Lindsay's poster, "ECIS as a Platform for Uncovering AMD Therapeutics", focuses on her research in the Coffey Lab on wet age-related macular degeneration.

March 19, 2018

The London Project to Cure Blindness, headed by Pete Coffey of the UC Santa Barbara Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering and Neuroscience Research Institute, has reported initial findings from a clinical trial.

Results from this groundbreaking study, published in Nature Biotechnology, describe the safe and effective implantation of a specially engineered patch of retinal pigment epithelium cells derived from embryonic stem cells to treat people with sudden severe sight loss from wet age-related macular degeneration.

Photo Credit: Gail Arnold
September 15, 2017

On Sunday, September 10, more than 100 supporters of the Santa Barbara Braille Institute gathered on its lovely campus for the 3rd annual Festival of Flavors. The Santa Barbara Braille Institute Auxiliary hosts this fundraiser to support the multitude of free classes, programs and services at the institute for the blind and visually impaired.