Edinburgh’s life sciences are world-leading. Together with NHS Lothian, the University of Edinburgh and other academic partners, the Foundation funds pioneering clinical and public health research.
Ophthalmic Regenerative Medicine is one of the most exciting and fast moving areas of clinical research. Stem cell treatments allow for the replacement of lost or damaged cells and have the potential to restore sight to many people currently living in blindness.
Edinburgh’s Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion is at the forefront of ground breaking stem cell therapies, having recently been the location of Scotland’s first corneal stem cell transplant in the treatment of corneal disease.
The latest stem cell technologies allow for personalised medicine which can be used to help develop treatments for specific diseases of the retina.
Creating retinal cells from a patient’s skin is a tricky process. Dr Shyamanga Borooah is one of the first researchers in the UK to use this technique, following training in the USA funded through the Foundation.
“Diseases like macular degeneration are the biggest cause of blindness in the developed world but research is limited by difficulty in obtaining retinal cells. A key point is that the DNA in cells of patients is the same whether it is in the eye or the skin. With the help of my training at the University of Wisconsin, I am now able to transform skin cells, which can be easily obtained, into retinal cells. These cells can then be used to test potential new treatments.”