Mustafa Prize Laureate draws on stem cell technology to combat obnoxious eye disease

Mustafa Prize Laureate draws on stem cell technology to combat obnoxious eye disease

MSTF Media reports:


Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, a laureate of the 2021 Mustafa Prize from Islamic countries, and head of ICCBS opened the session with welcoming remarks and a promise for future collaborations between ICCBS and MSTF.

“We are glad to have this collaborative webinar with Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation bringing the finest people in the field of stem cell biology. We will certainly take further initiatives in the future,” observed the Mustafa Prize laureate.

Choudhary then invited Baharvand, a laureate of 2019 Mustafa Prize from Islamic countries physically present at ICCBS, to deliver his lecture on making use of stem cell biology to address age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a progressive disease of the macula and a leading cause of irreversible blindness.

The director of Royan Institute pointed to the potential of human embryonic stem cells to be transplanted through spontaneous and directed differentiation, thus forming Retinal Pigmented Epithelial (RPE) Cells.

During the course of their study, Baharvand and his team transplanted rats with RPE cells and evaluated them for a long time. During 6 months of transplantation, the vision of rats under study was examined and it was shown that the visual acuity of rats is improved. 

The Stem Cell biology professor concluded that based on the several observations from experimenting on rats, “the clinical-grade RPE cells improve visual acuity through preservation of photoreceptopr cell survival and/or function.”

The Mustafa Prize laureate observed that clinical trials on humans will be carried out next year. “It is currently being done in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and the UK,” he remarked.

AMD affects 8.7 percent of the worldwide population particularly in people older than 60 and is more prevalent in Asia, with approximately 196 million cases in 2020, a number predicted to increase to 288 million by 2040. 

Mohammad Kazemi Ashtiani, head of the Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology also gave a presentation on “Designing Advanced Materials for Tissue Regeneration Applications,” thoroughly elaborating on the interdisciplinary approach they are taking at Royan institute with material scientists and chemical engineers to carry out wide research projects and address big problems.

At the end of the session, the head of ICCBS bestowed the speakers with memorable gifts.

Hossein Baharvand won the 2019 Mustafa Prize for “Parkinson's treatment and Eye AMD with Stem Cell.” He is a professor of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at Royan Institute, Iran. His research interests include Organoids, Pluripotent stem cells, Clinical application of pluripotent stem cells.

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