Dr. Pravin U. Dugel – First Patients in Arizona Receive Experimental Stem Cell Treatment for Eye Disease

PHOENIX (Feb. 11, 2019)– Retinal Consultants of Arizona & the Retinal Research Institute – one of the nation’s leading retina & vitreous clinical research and patient treatment facilities – is proud to announce that Dr. Pravin U. Dugel has conducted the first stem cell therapy treatment for patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in Arizona.

The stem cell therapy – human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) – is being investigated for the treatment of RP. RP is a disease affecting the nerve cells involved in vision that is found in the retina (tissue of the eye used to see). hRPC is being investigated in subjects with RP to see if hRPC, when injected into the retina, can slow the degeneration of, or even possibly replace these retinal cells that are used for vision.

“This clinical trial is an exciting step forward in stem cell therapy,” said Dr. Pravin U. Dugel, managing partner, Retinal Consultants of Arizona & Retinal Research Institute in Phoenix, AZ; clinical professor, USC Roski Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. “Our goal as physicians is to advance the diagnosis and treatment of retina diseases affecting millions of people globally. Advancements like hRPC are critical to the treatment of patients who experience vision loss or blindness due to retinitis pigmentosa and are currently without hope.”

According to the trial sponsor, UK biotechnology company ReNeuron, pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that retinal implantation of human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) have the potential to preserve existing photoreceptors, potentially reducing or halting the further deterioration of vision. In addition, the progenitor cells have been shown to mature into functional photoreceptors that engraft into the photoreceptor layer, bringing the possibility of restored vision.

The hRPC used in this study is investigational. “Investigational” means the hRPC is a study agent being tested and has not yet been approved for use as a medicine by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  See full study details at ClinicalTrials.gov

Patients interested in learning more about this study, please contact the Retinal Research Institute at 602-682-2770.

About Retinal Consultants of Arizona

Retinal Consultants of Arizona (RCA) was established in 1980 in central Phoenix. Since then, we have grown to include more than 30 locations throughout Arizona, providing improved access to the highest quality medical eye care. RCA also manages the country’s leading independent clinical research & trials facility, Retinal Research Institute, where RCA physicians contribute to the advancement of new therapies by participating in clinical research studies.