News

April 05, 2018

A team of doctors, engineers and scientists — including UC Santa Barbara stem cell researchers Dennis Clegg, Lincoln Johnson, Sherry Hikita and Britney Pennington — has published the preliminary results of a first-in-human clinical trial for dry AMD. Four patients received implants consisting of human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which support light-sensitive photoreceptor cells critical to vision. The phase 1/2A trial, led by Dr. Amir Kashani, is being conducted at the University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute at the campus’s Keck School of Medicine. 

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April 05, 2018

A UC Santa Barbara collaboration publishes its clinical trial preliminary findings for a bioengineered retinal pigment epithelial monolayer for advanced, dry age-related macular degeneration. Non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NNAMD) is a progressive blinding disease primarily due to loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the eye. Currently, there is no effective treatment for NNAMD. Now, Kashani and colleagues have developed a clinical-grade retinal implant made of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)–derived RPE grown on a synthetic substrate. In a first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial in five patients with advanced NNAMD, the implant was shown to be safe and well tolerated. Preliminary results reported potential therapeutic effects on visual acuity, suggesting that this approach might be useful for treating retinal disorders involving RPE loss.

The paper is featured as the cover story of Science Translational Medicine April 2018, link below. 

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A section through a stem-cell derived retina from Mariya Moosajee’s team lights up under modern imaging techniques. Mariya Moosajee/UCL
November 20, 2017

This is the first story in a partnership between the Wellcome Trust and WikiTribune to publish evidence-based science reports which are open to editing and discussion from the WikiTribune community.  

For eye specialist Francesca Cordeiro, eyes are a window onto people’s brains – a window that looks onto the prospect of stopping and even reversing blinding conditions.

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October 31, 2017

TEDx Santa Barbara

The 2017 show is held on Saturday, November 11th, at The New Vic, conveniently located in the heart of historic downtown Santa Barbara, with snacks and food provided by our wonderful local partners. All you need to bring is your imagination, an open mind, and a desire to be a part of a growing global TEDx community.

There will also be a Live Simulcast Event held at Impact Hub. Both ticket types include access to the post-show After Party, held at Impact Hub from 7-10 pm.

Tickets can be purchased at the link below.

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Photo Credit: Leah Foltz
October 30, 2017

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Once thought impossible, a cure for a blinding eye disease is in the works at UC Santa Barbara.

Researchers are in a phase one clinical trial with a procedure that would improve or cure the vision for those suffering from Macular Degeneration. The blinding eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans and impacts the sight of 20 million people worldwide.

How do they do it?

It's a sophisticated procedure that places stem cells in the back of the eye to repair damaged areas.

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Photo Credit: Gail Arnold
September 15, 2017

On Sunday, September 10, more than 100 supporters of the Santa Barbara Braille Institute gathered on its lovely campus for the 3rd annual Festival of Flavors. The Santa Barbara Braille Institute Auxiliary hosts this fundraiser to support the multitude of free classes, programs and services at the institute for the blind and visually impaired.

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Near-infrared light is used to precisely engineer stem cells into tissue. Photo Credit: PETER ALLEN ILLUSTRATION
May 15, 2017

UCSB researchers develop a more precise and controlled method of engineering tissues from stem cells.

Researchers in UC Santa Barbara’s departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biologyhave gotten a step closer to unlocking the secrets of tissue morphology with a method of three-dimensional culturing of embryonic stem cells using light.

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April 24, 2017

Leah Foltz, a graduate student in the lab of MCDB professor Dennis Clegg, delivered an engaging summary of recent strides in stem cell research and how her lab uses this biological material to study blinding diseases. Her research explores whether scientists will one day be able to use someone’s own cells to cure their blindness. Foltz’s lively delivery earned her a first-place finish in the campuswide competition. Now she’s headed to San Francisco to test her mettle Thursday, May 4, against participants from the nine other University of California campuses.

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March 20, 2017

Three Solvang School students won awards and earned cash at the recent Santa Barbara County Science Fair, and one was chosen to represent the county at the California State Science Fair.

Five Solvang middle school students — Fernanda Barbosa, Andrew Bunke, Audrey Fuette, Tessa Haws and Harry Mullin — presented their work March 10 at the County Science Fair in Corwin Pavilion at UC Santa Barbara.

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October 20, 2016

The cover story of the September issue of National Geographic on treating blindness featured two research projects underway at the UCSB Stem Cell Center. First mentioned was the California Project to Cure Blindness, a joint effort between USC, UCSB, Caltech, City of Hope, University College London and Regenerative Patch Technologies, where researchers are using embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells on a scaffold to treat the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (Clegg and Coffey labs). Second, the article described work led by Henry Klassen at UC Irvine to treat retinitis pigmentosa with retinal stem cells. Both of these stem cell therapies are currently in clinical trials for ocular disease.

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