Stem Cells as Tools for Studying the Genetics of Inherited Retinal Degenerations

Wiley LA, Burnight ER, Mullins RF, Stone EM, Tucker BA

The ability to provide early clinical intervention for inherited disorders is heavily dependent on knowledge of a patient's disease-causing mutations and the resultant pathophysiologic mechanism(s). Without knowing a patient's disease-causing gene, and how gene mutations alter the health and functionality of affected cells, it would be difficult to develop and deliver patient-specific molecular or small molecule therapies. Many believe that the field of stem cell biology holds the keys to the future development of disease-, patient-, and cell-specific therapies. In the case of the eye, which is susceptible to an extremely common late-onset degenerative disease known as age-related macular degeneration, stem cell-based therapies could increase the quality of life for millions of patients worldwide. Furthermore, autologous, patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells could be a viable source to treat rare Mendelian retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, and Best disease, to name a few.

Cold Spring Harbor
Publication Date: 
Thu, 12/11/2014
Pubmed ID: