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Ushers Syndrome Improves with Stem Cell Treatment in SCOTS 2
Type of Retinitis Pigmentosa responds to stem cells with vision and hearing improvement
By: MD Stem Cells
Ushers is the most common syndromic form of RP, meaning more than one symptom is present- in this case hearing loss in addition to vision loss. It is the most common cause of combined vision and hearing or deaf-blindness. There are 3 different types of Ushers with variations in hearing and vision loss because of different genes being affected. In a recent case of Ushers treated in the SCOTS 2 study there was not only improvement in vision, but an unexpected improvement of the hearing loss as well.
In this case a patient had lost significant vision as well as hearing. Genetic testing had confirmed Ushers Syndrome. After treatment in SCOTS the peripheral vision improved in both eyes with increased sensitivity. But what was even more exciting was that the patient had improved hearing. The patient's audiologist had told the patient that recovery of biological hearing was physically impossible and she had never witnessed it happen- but the test of hearing was unequivocal and showed about a 15 decibel improvement in the right ear and an approximately 10 decibel improvement in the left ear. This was enough for the spouse to notice the patient could hear things they would otherwise not and to have a noticeable improvement in speaking because of hearing their own voice better.
Steven Levy MD, CEO of MD Stem Cells and Study Director for SCOTS 2, remarks "We have seen variable improvements in vision in RP patients so we were not surprised to see better vision in a patient with Ushers. But it is not clearly understood why there is hearing loss in Ushers. Theories include that the genes involved not only code for certain transport proteins for the photoreceptors of the retina, but also for certain proteins in the within the inner ear.1 Therefore if there is regeneration or better function of photoreceptors creating an improvement in vision, there may also be an improvement of proteins in or regeneration of cells in the ear, resulting in improvement in hearing as well."
SCOTS 2 is the largest stem cell study of eye disease in the world and uses the patient's own bone marrow derived stem cells. It is an Institutional Research Board approved study and is registered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on their ClinicalTrials website. Patients with a variety of retinal and optic nerve diseases may be eligible to participate.
"It's important to understand that we are using the patient's own bone marrow stem cells and not stem cells from fat, adipose or what is sometimes called stromal vascular fraction" indicated Dr. Levy. "We have over 4 years of exceptional safety with the use of bone marrow stem cells and have seen many examples of improvements in vision. All our procedures are done in a fully licensed outpatient surgical facility under the auspices of board certified anesthesiologists. Our bone marrow aspirations are performed by a board certified orthopedic surgeon in these operating rooms under the highest accreditation."
In addition to the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study II (SCOTS 2) National Clinical Trial Number 03011541, MD Stem Cells is also Sponsor for the Neurology Stem Cell Treatment study (NEST) National Clinical Trial Number 02795052. The NEST study is actively recruiting and treating a variety of neurologic diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD), Stroke (CVA), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Peripheral Neuropathy and other neurologic diseases. MD Stem Cells has also begun the Stem Cell Spinal Cord Injury Exoskeleton and Virtual Reality (SciExVR) National Clinical Trial Number 03225625 for spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia. All are Patient Supported studies meaning that there are no other sources of payment for the procedures other than the patients themselves. Because these are investigational treatments, insurances do not cover the costs.
Patients interested in treatment in SCOTS 2, NEST or SciExVR may contact MD Stem Cells by email - email@example.com - by phone 203-423-9494 or by visiting the website http://www.mdstemcells.com and using the Contact Us page. Please follow us on Twitter @mdstemcells.com for updates about stem cell treatments.
1.Cosgrove D,Zallocchi M. Usher protein functions in hair cells and photoreceptors. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Jan;46:80-9.
Steven Levy MD
MD Stem Cells