Lineage Cell Therapeutics announced today that Igor Nasonkin, PhD, Principal Investigator and Director of R&D, served as a co-Chair of the Neural Differentiation, Transplantation, and Regeneration Nanosymposium, in addition to presenting data on the company’s Vision Restoration Program at Neuroscience 2019, the Society for Neuroscience’s 49th Annual Scientific Meeting.
The preclinical data presented provided evidence that retinal tissue produced in Lineage’s laboratory from a human pluripotent stem cell line was able to engraft tumor-free in rat models used to study severe retinal degeneration, survived for 6 months or longer in the subretinal space, and importantly, showed evidence of functional improvement. Moreover, the implanted retinal tissue produced many photoreceptors carrying mature markers including rhodopsin, established close contact with the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) layer, and developed many synaptic boutons reaching the inner nuclear layers and ganglion cell layer. Rhodopsin is a biological pigment found in the rods of the retina and is extremely sensitive to light, thus enabling vision in low-light conditions. Synaptic boutons are typically the sites where synapses with other neurons are found, and neurotransmitters are stored here to communicate with other neurons. This work was done in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine (Magdalene J. Seiler, Ph.D., co-PI).
The Vision Restoration Program is a collaborative effort led by Lineage’s Principal Investigator Igor O. Nasonkin, PhD, Director of Research & Development, with Simon Petersen-Jones, DVET MED, PHD, DECVO, Professor and Donald R. Meyers and William E. Dunlap Endowed Chair in Canine Health at Michigan State University, and Magdalene J. Seiler, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Department of Ophthalmology, Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. The Vision Restoration Program is distinct from OpRegen, the Company’s clinical-stage cell therapy program which features the subretinal delivery of retinal pigment epithelium cells for the treatment of dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD).
The presentation, entitled “Transplantation of human embryonic stem cell derived retinal sheets improves vision in immunodeficient rats with retinal degeneration,” was presented as part of the Neural Differentiation, Transplantation and Regeneration Session on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 8:00 am Eastern Time in room S505 (Session #626).