El avance israelí que evitará la ceguera en personas mayores

Un experimento innovador realizado en el Hospital Hadassah de Jerusalem con células madre embrionarias ha logrado evitar la ceguera en ancianos. Los investigadores usaron células madre para trasplantar células de pigmento retiniano en pacientes mayores con discapacidad visual.

La degeneración retiniana en edad avanzada es una enfermedad particularmente común en el mundo occidental. 30 por ciento de los adultos mayores de 75 sufren de la misma, y el 6 a 8 por ciento de ellos sufren de pérdida total de la visión.

Las células madre embrionarias se cosechan de embriones fertilizados in vitro. Cuando la pareja decide no tener más hijos, los embriones congelados pueden ser utilizados para aislar las células madre. Estas células son únicas porque durante el embarazo son las que realmente forman el cuerpo del feto, y pueden servir como una fuente de trasplante para cada célula en el cuerpo humano.

El profesor Benjamín Reubinoff, director del Centro Hadassah de Investigación de Células Madre Embrionarias y experto en obstetricia y ginecología, fundó una empresa llamada Cellcure, que se centra en el desarrollo del trasplante de células madre embrionarias en pacientes con enfermedades incurables del sistema nervioso y los ojos.

Los investigadores tuvieron que desarrollar un cultivo de células madre embrionarias que contienen sólo células pigmentarias de la retina y demostrar que estas células son seguras y eficaces a través de experimentos con ratones y ratas. Después de obtener la aprobación del Ministerio de Salud y la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos, se decidió llevar a cabo una prueba en seres humanos.

Los profesores Reubinoff y Eyal Banin, director del Centro de Enfermedades de Degeneración Retiniana en el Departamento de Oftalmología de Hadassah, comenzaron a realizar trasplantes en cinco pacientes. A través de imágenes, observaron que las células trasplantadas se absorbieron en la retina.

“Este es un gran logro para nosotros La visión de los ancianos se ha mantenido estable y no se ha deteriorado como sucedería sin el trasplante,” explicó el profesor Reubinoff. “Si el tratamiento demuestra ser eficaz, implantaremos las células en una fase temprana de la enfermedad, a fin de evitar que millones de personas mayores en todo el mundo pierdan la vista”.

A pesar del éxito de la prueba, los investigadores creen que tomará más tiempo para que el tratamiento esté disponible para todos los pacientes. “También tendremos que efectuar pruebas de seguridad y eficacia antes de hacerlo efectivo para todos,” concluyó el profesor Reubinoff.

Fuente: Ynet / Enlace Judío

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