The Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute is leading the effort to develop revolutionary methods to regenerate eye tissues for various diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, corneal disease, and ocular cancer.
Demetrios G. Vavvas, MD, PhD
Michael J. Young, PhD
See a list of ORMI faculty
Tissue and stem cell therapies hold enormous promise for repairing ocular tissues. Our investigators lead the effort to develop revolutionary methods to regenerate eye tissues for various diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, corneal disease, and ocular cancer. They significantly advanced the understanding of tissue and stem cell transplantation in the retina—particularly in terms of graft survival and the formation of functional neural connections after transplantation. Our investigators are also developing biomaterials that can be used for delivering neuroprotective agents or stem cells to the retina; the engineered biomaterials have also been shown to promote survival and functional growth of neurons after transplantation.
Major Research Breakthroughs
In the last 20 years, our investigators have achieved many research milestones. Notably, they have:
- Performed early clinical trials of grafted embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Developed a novel stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa using retinal progenitor cells
- Developed a semi-automated approach for the scaled-up production of retinal neurons from pluripotent stem cells—a renewable source of cells—for the treatment of AMD and glaucoma
- Pioneered transplantation studies of stem cellderived retinal ganglion cells in animal models of glaucoma
- Uncovered permanent neuroglial remodeling of the retina that occurs following infiltration of peripheral monocytes in cases of retinal injury
2020 Vision: Promising Areas For Future Research
Looking to the future, our investigators hope to overcome immunologic and integration issues as we move from bench to bedside with sight-saving and restoring therapies that will change the lives of patients with blinding diseases.
The Symposium on Ocular Regeneration brings together clinicians and basic scientists from multiple disciplines who are working to accelerate cures and restore vision in patients with degenerative eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cornea and dry eye disease, and inherited retinal disorders. Learn more