Dial back 20 years. Who was one of the first trailblazers in stem cell research?
Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, head of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, was not only a pioneer, but today is a physician/scientist whose innovative research has led to potentially promising treatments for patients suffering from debilitating diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Marking Prof. Reubinoff’s pivotal contribution to stem cell science almost eight years ago, Cell Stem Cell magazine chose to recognize his 2009 article in its tenth anniversary issue. Only one other author received that recognition.
As the magazine’s 10th anniversary editorial brings out, quite a few authors who publish their work in Cell Stem Cell “dream that the work will eventually wind up in the clinic.” Prof. Reubinoff has witnessed the unfolding of that dream, along with his partner, Eyal Banin, head of Hadassah’s Center for Retinal and Macular Degenerations.
The 2009 article reveals their successful creation of retinal epithelium cells (RPEs) from human embryonic stem cells and the rescue of the retina’s structure and function in an animal model.
Today, Cell Cure, founded by Prof. Reubinoff, is tackling macular degeneration with a stem cell therapy that evolved from that work. Their Phase I/IIa clinical trial, now in progress, has shown that the cells they transplanted into the eyes of patients with AMD have engrafted with no major adverse reactions. And they have remained in place for at least a year.
Pictured above: Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff and Cell Cure Neurosciences’ Good Manufacturing Practice-Grade Facilities for Production of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells (RPEs)