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Differentiation of Pluripotent Stem Cells into Retinal Pigmented Epithelium

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Ocular diseases affect millions worldwide and dramatically influence the quality of life. Although much is known about ocular biology and disease pathologies, effective treatments are still lacking. The eye is well suited for application of emerging cell-based therapies. This chapter explores the development of stem cell-based treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a prevalent ocular disease in the elderly. Retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), a cell type implicated in AMD, has been derived from both induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells (ESC). Rapidly advancing research has generated various methods of RPE differentiation and several transplantation strategies. Clinical trials are already underway using suspensions of ESC-derived RPE and others are soon to follow. This chapter will provide an overview of current derivation and transplantation strategies for stem cell-derived RPE for the treatment of AMD and other related ocular diseases.

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