hESC-derived photoreceptors survive and integrate better in immunodeficient retina
Retinal degenerative diseases resulting in photoreceptor death, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) lead to incurable vision loss in millions of patients worldwide. When photoreceptors are lost, the resulting visual deficit is permanent. Currently, there are no effective therapies for these diseases except to delay degeneration in early disease stages. A potential approach in regaining vision for more advanced disease is to replace the degenerated photoreceptors. Particularly, this is a viable strategy for AMD as it has been shown that ganglion cells can survive in a degenerate retina even when there is severe underlying photoreceptor loss (1). Finding a suitable source of transplantable cells to replace the dying host tissue is the main challenge.