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April 1993

Repair and Replacement to Restore Sight: Report From the Panel on Photoreceptor/Retinal Pigment Epithelium

Author Affiliations

From the Jules Stein Eye Institute and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Bok); the Bethesda (Md) Eye Institute and Department of Ophthalmology, St Louis (Mo) University School of Medicine (Dr Hageman); and the Departments of Physiology and Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine (Dr Steinberg). Dr Steinberg is a consultant for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, Tarrytown, NY. For a list of the members of the Photoreceptor/Retinal Pigment Epithelium Panel, see end of this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(4):463-471. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090040055030

A principal goal of research on the retina is to prevent blindness by devising new therapies for diseases that cause photoreceptor dysfunction or loss. These diseases affect the photoreceptor/retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) region (from the choriocapillaris to the outer plexiform layer) and ultimately injure or destroy the rods and cones. The pathophysiological mechanism may be a direct attack on the photoreceptor, or it may involve the cellular and extracellular environment that supports photoreceptor viability. Recent advances in basic science and in clinical medicine make it possible now to conceive of new therapies that would prevent injury to photoreceptor cells, or repair already injured cells, or even replace injured or dead cells, such as the RPE, or the photoreceptors.

There is, of course, a precedent in ophthalmology for therapies that provide partial repair of the damaged retina. Two prime examples are retinal reattachment surgery for retinal detachment and the use of

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