The world of regenerative medicine is advancing rapidly, as more complex organs are being grown and transplanted. Recently, researchers, supported by the Biomedical Research Center at the University College London Hospitals, have been awarded the funding to conduct the first-ever clinical trial of a stem cell generated voice box transplant. The creation of a voice box represents the evolution of the successful creation and transplantation of an artificial trachea as researchers and scientist develop the capability of growing ever more complex organs.
Researchers at the University College London have recently used stem cells to heal the damage caused by glaucoma. Adult stem cells were differentiated into new retinal ganglion cells, replacing those that die as a result of high internal eye pressure caused by glaucoma. The newly formed retinal ganglion cells were then injected directly into the inner eye, and were found to have connected with existing nerve cells within four weeks, thus restoring visual capabilities. Other research teams are utilizing stem cells to treat age-related macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness in the elderly and the first clinical trials are already underway.