The most common forms of retinopathy to cause serious visual impairment and blindness are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). These ocular diseases which cause so much suffering are associated with inflammation, immune regulation, fibrous proliferation and neurodegeneration. Recently, the roles of exosomes have shown promise as a therapeutic agent to treat these diseases. These stem cell derived particles are membrane vesicles which carry a variety of proteins that conduct cell-to-cell communication.
Stem Cells have shown to have intrinsic properties to reduce inflammation, modulate immunity and increase the regeneration of retinal cells which aids in cell replacement and recovery. Exosomes are microscopic, have the benefit of high permeability and can penetrate biological barriers. Compared to stem cell therapy, exosomes may have the advantage in retinal repair by better reducing inflammation, providing neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells and improving the microenvironment for optic neuron survival.
While research has shown promising results and some patients have been successful, retinal repair with exosomes is not approved by the FDA and may be years away from being covered by insurance. If you think you may benefit from exosome therapy, please contact your doctor or you can also contact our team at Cendant Stem Cell Center for more information.