AiVita Biomedical has secured research project grant (R01) from the National Eye Institute of the US National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop stem cell-derived 3D-transplantable retinas for vision loss treatment.
AiVita CEO Hans Keirstead will be the principal investigator of the research project, which will be conducted in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine.
Under the project, a new solution will be developed to treat the loss of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptors observed in patients with advanced degenerative eye disease, such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
According to AiVita, various laboratories have showed improved vision in animal models of advanced retinal disease through the transplantation of stem cell-derived optic vesicles and optic cup-like structures.
The company intends to use an advanced method to treat retinal disorders and stages of disease. The method involves the transplantation of a complete retinal organoid consisting of laminated retinal progenitor cells with RPE.
AiVita, which will manufacture the 3D-retinal organoids, will work with Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center to test the product for safety and efficacy in relevant models of retinal degeneration.
AiVita CSO Dr Gabriel Nistor said: “This award, in addition to the previously announced grant from CIRM, is a testament to the advances we are making in the transplantation of stem cell-derived 3D structures to treat vision loss.
“We are very proud to have achieved the major milestone of restoring visual acuity in models of advanced retinal degeneration, using a human stem cell population that is ethically procured, renewable and cost effective.”
AiVita Biomedical has engineered safe and economical manufacturing systems to support the development and commercialization of curative and regenerative medicines.