A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights concerns that the American Academy of Ophthalmology has previously expressed regarding stem cell therapy for diseases of the retina. In June 2016, the Academy issued clinical guidance that covers the appropriate use of stem cell therapy in eye care. An article coauthored by the Academy's Chief Executive Officer in the November issue of the Academy's journal Ophthalmology highlights the dangers of unapproved trials, the need for appropriate oversight, and the risk to patients looking for a transformative cure, according to an AAO news release.
The Academy has called on both the National Institutes of Health and the FDA to take steps to better ensure public safety associated with treatments outside of FDA-approved clinical trials. Good research is being performed under FDA-approved trials by innovative clinician-scientists and tragedy associated with nonapproved use of stem cells threatens the conduct and impact of this high-quality science.
The public and patients can learn more about stem cells and eye care by visiting the Academy's EyeSmart public education website.