OxStem Ocular aims to identify a new class of drugs that will stimulate appropriate precursor cells within the retina of patients with a range of retinopathies to stimulate retinal repair to restore vision.
Retinal degeneration is the leading cause of untreatable blindness in the world. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which affects approximately 14 million people, is due to a loss of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and secondary photoreceptor death, leading to disabling central visual deficits in the elderly.
Currently the treatment options for patients suffering from retinopathies include pharmacological or surgical treatments. One strategy to ameliorate these diseases lies in the domain of regenerative medicine, and is to replace the lost photoreceptors in an effort to re-establish the circuitry for visual sensation, and strategies for cell transplantation and gene therapy are currently being explored. The identification of small molecules able to repair damaged cells in vivo would represent a step change, overcoming many of the limitations of current therapies.