Treat macular degeneration with cell therapy
Mayo Clinic researchers have developed a fibrin-based hydrogel that can support an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) monolayer during differentiation but can be degraded in a matter of hours “on demand”. This support, produced from materials already FDA approved and used in the eye, is made stable for the period during which cells are differentiating in culture by the addition of aprotinin (a protease inhibitor approved for use in humans by the FDA) or other anti-fibrinolytic substances to the culture medium. On withdrawal of the anti-fibrinolytic substance, the gel can be rapidly degraded using fibrinolytic enzymes that are naturally present in tissues, leaving behind the RPE monolayer. In preliminary studies, when this fibrin hydrogel is placed in the rabbit eye it spontaneously degrades within 48 hours of implantation.