The Taipei Veterans General Hospital, the National Chiao Tung University, the National Yang-Ming University and the University of California San Diego have jointly developed iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem) cells, reprogrammed them to become pluripotent cells as retinal pigment epithelial cells and retinal ganglion axon cells using 3D technology to grow a 2 cm long axon with possible application in treating age related macular degeneration.
In Taiwan, age related macular degeneration affects 10% to 15% of those over 65 years old, and of them, 30% or about 100,000 suffer from irreversible retinal and photoreceptor degeneration leading to a loss of vision in the center of the visual field.
A blood sample of 10 cc is drawn from a patient with macular degeneration to produce undifferentiated embryonic-like stem cells or iPS cells. They are then reprogrammed to differentiate into retinal pigment epithelial cells and retinal ganglion axon cells.
For information about the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), go to: http://www.nctu.edu.tw/en
For information about the National Yang-Ming University (NYMU), go to: http://www.ym.edu.tw/