ACT announces dosing of third patient in dry AMD Phase I/II trial

Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. ("ACT"; OTCBB: ACTC), a leader in the field of regenerative medicine, announced today the dosing of the third patient in its Phase I/II trial for dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) using retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The outpatient transplantation surgery was performed successfully, and the patient is recovering uneventfully.    

Gary Rabin, chairman and CEO of ACT, commented, "The completion of enrollment of the first cohort of patients in our dry AMD clinical trial is a significant step forward in our RPE clinical program. The first six patients in the U.S. trials have all been treated at UCLA, and as we have recently announced, the trials should soon expand to additional sites. As we have built our clinical team, we have been fortunate to have attracted the attention of some of the highest-caliber ophthalmologists and related institutions in the U.S. and Europe and recognize the huge value that their expertise provides us as we plan for the future of our therapeutic programs. With their guidance, we have also worked with the FDA to successfully expand the criteria of eligibility for patients to participate in our dry AMD trial."

The procedures at UCLA were all conducted by the team led by Steven Schwartz, M.D., Ahmanson Professor of Ophthalmology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and retina division chief at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute.

"The six patients treated at UCLA to date have tolerated the surgical procedure well." commented Dr. Schwartz. "There have been no complications in the procedure, nor any issues relating to the safety of the injected stem cell-derived RPE cells in any of the patients. We continue to regularly evaluate all patients in the trial, and while still preliminary, I am encouraged by the patients' progress and the relative straightforwardness of the surgical procedure."

"We are extremely pleased with the progress being made in all three of our clinical trials here in the U.S. and the U.K.," commented Robert Lanza, M.D., ACT's chief scientific officer. "The data we are reviewing seems to be pointing in the appropriate direction, With the treatment of the latest two dry AMD patients, we look forward to having more significant points of reference to understand the progress of the trial and consider the endpoint design for the next phase. Both Stargardt's disease and dry AMD are progressive diseases that result vision loss and blindness due to the thinning of the layer of RPE cells in the patient's macula, the central portion of the retina responsible for central vision. We still have many patients left to treat during the course of these trials, but our team remains hopeful that stem cell-derived RPE cells may someday provide a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of many forms of macular degeneration. We hear from patients who suffer from these diseases on nearly a daily basis, and appreciate the huge responsibility we have to them."

ACT is conducting three clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe using hESC-derived RPE cells to treat forms of macular degeneration. Each trial will enroll a total of 12 patients, with cohorts of three patients each in an ascending dosage format. These trials are prospective, open-label studies, designed to determine the safety and tolerability of hESC-derived RPE cells following sub-retinal transplantation into patients with dry-AMD or Stargardt's macular dystrophy (SMD) at 12 months, the study's primary endpoint. Preliminary results relating to both early safety and biological function for the first two patients in the United States, one SMD patient and one dry AMD patient, were recently reported in The Lancet. On January 20, 2012, the first SMD patient to be enrolled in the Company's U.K. clinical trial was treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. The final patient of the first cohort in the company's SMD trial in the U.S. was treated on February 13, 2012.


Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.    


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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