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  • Skin Cell Research Offers Hope for Retinitis Pigmentosa Cure

    When I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa seven years ago, my retinal specialist handed me a scrap of paper containing the phone number to the Center for the Blind.   He told me I could forget about a cure — at least for the next 20 years. .

    But recent medical breakthroughs are hopefully proving him wrong.

    A news report yesterday announced that scientists from Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston have successfully regenerated large areas of damaged retinas and have improved visual function in mice using IPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) derived from skin.

    This is a huge breakthrough for those of us slowly going blind from Retinitis Pigementosa.  It’s also a big breakthrough for people suffering from Macular Degeneration.

    I’m now down to a two to three percent visual field and fight each day to hold on the precious eyesight I have left.  But I’m also holding out for a cure that will one day allow me to get behind the wheel of a cherry red convertible Mustang.  If researchers can develop a viable treatment for AIDS, I’m convinced they can come up with a way to restore vision.

    To all of you researchers trying to cure my eye disease and every other disease out there, thank you. You give us hope.  And hope is power.

    In case reservations are being taken, I’m putting it out there now: When the skin cell research makes it to a human clinical trial, I want to be the first in line.

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12 Responsesso far.

  1. It’s so nice so see other people have the faith that I have in the medical field finding a cure real soon. Without that faith I would be a mess! Thank you all for that!! :o)

  2. I agree, Steve. But I’ve found hope to be a powerful thing. And it does seem that a lot of progress is being made. Fingers crossed for all of us!

  3. This was a great article to stumble across. I also have RP since self diagnosing myself 9 years ago. I’m so sorry you had a horrid doctor who told you to give up hope. I have been traveling all over the country trying to find a decent RP doctor. They are few and far between. I am currently at 16% and stable for the time being. It gives me a lot of hope that I will be able to see my children grow up and hopefully see grandbabies some day. Thank you for publishing this

  4. Thanks for your note, Chris. And good luck — sixteen percent visual field is amazing. Yeah…good RP doctors are definitely hard to come by. I’ve not found one yet but found a great naturopath in California who helps people with serious eye disorders. I feel confident that something is going to break for all of us.


  5. I’m glad you have hope!!! I have had it my whole life and now at 37 I can tell my vision is decreasing a lot faster. I’ve been through the same where the Dr.’s said “there will not be a cure any time soon”. It’s really unbelievable to me that normal vision problems can be corrected with lenses and there is nothing to correct this while waiting for a cure. As for me, I’m not hopeful.

  6. ingrid have you seen Dr Berson right there in Boston? He is located at the Massachusetts ear and eye. I was diagnosed 6 years ago and my visual field has held steady with the treatment he put me on. Let’s keep the faith

  7. I amat about the same stage as you in the disease. My hope is the same. I am in line with you for the right clinical trials. Do you have a web site or some internet connection where you publish updated information. I have followed some ot the work of Michael Young PhD at Schepens.

  8. Hey Jennifer,

    I know how you feel. It’s so painful at times to be told there is nothing that can be done. But I have to stay hopeful. Because the alternative is not an option.

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