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Briton joins eye disease cell trial


Wednesday January 25th 2012

A 34-year-old Briton has become the first European to take part in a stem cell trial for a rare eye disease.

Marcus Hilton, a long-term sufferer of severe Stargardt's macular dystrophy (SMD), a hereditary disease that causes loss of central vision, was injected with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

He received them in an injection in a 90-minute operation at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital last Friday.

Early US results indicate the method is safe and could result in a suitable therapy, although it will take years to prove the treatment, and Mr Hilton's contribution was part of a European arm of a trial to examine safety.

He was just seven when a problem was spotted at school although he was not diagnosed with the condition until three years later.

However, the father of four-year-old daughter, Amelia, said he was thrilled and excited to be helping out with the tests.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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