Traditional medicine almost exclusively focuses on the use of drugs designed to somehow alter or slow the course of the disease by affecting how a cell or a group of cells behave. However, these pharmacological approaches are increasingly unable to keep pace with patients’ needs, especially given our aging population. The fact is that, as of today, there are few effective ways to treat the underlying causes of many diseases and degenerative conditions. In many cases, doctors can only manage patients’ symptoms.
Regenerative medicine is uniquely capable of rejuvenating, replacing, and even regenerating damaged tissues. Regenerative medicine has the potential to change the thinking about disease, aging, and even the practice of medicine itself. It represents an opportunity to reduce continuously growing health care costs, and facilitate longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Regenerative medicine, such as cell therapies we are developing, represents a novel area of medicine. Through this new area of medicine there is the potential to heal diseased and degenerated tissues and organs, offering hope for treatment of diseases that are currently beyond effective therapy.
We orient our research around therapeutic areas where breakthrough therapies can significantly improve patients’ lives. In that regard, we have focused a substantial portion of our efforts on finding regenerative medicine therapies for diseases of the eye – a field of medicine we refer to as “Regenerative Ophthalmology”.
The Convergence of Science and Determination
At the very core of our regenerative ophthalmology efforts is the notion that we can change the course of degenerative eye disease by identifying which cell types are compromised or lost due to disease, and replacing those missing cells with the same cell generated from a stem cell source. For instance, we have worked to develop cell therapy candidates such as transplantable photoreceptor and other neurosensory retinal nerve cells, and supportive cells such as retinal pigmented epithelial or “RPE” cells. The cells we intend to test for potential use in treatment are the same as the native cells which they replace – these are the right cells doing the right job.
In each instance, we seek to build on routine surgical processes for delivering our cell therapy, with the goal of improving administration and predictability. In the end, we see our pipeline of clinical and preclinical therapies providing the next generation of treatment – and we are committed to developing these innovative regenerative therapies.