There is new hope for people terrified they will lose their sight to macular degeneration. Tuesday, Northern Nevada Medical Center became the first center in the nation to host a clinic trial using cells to treat the most common cause of adult blindness. Dr. Arshad Khanani implanted a device developed by Neurotech Pharmaceuticals into a local patient's eye. The device contains specific cells programmed to be proteins that are known to stop the progression of wet macular degeneration. So instead of current treatment, which involves shots into the eye every 4 to 8 weeks, this implant continuously releases the protein. Dr. Khanani says this is a major medical breakthrough. "The point is in macular degeneration you start to get leakage into the retina and you get these injections that stop the leakage and when the injection starts to run out of the eye the leakage comes back. So the idea is that if you have a daily dose of the medication or the daily dose secreted into the eye then it should keep the disease stable so you don't need to do injections again or if you do it's less frequently."

The goal of the encapsulated cell therapy is to stop the progression of macular degeneration and avoid the need for frequent injections in the eye.
Results from this phase 2 clinical trial are expected in early 2017. 

For more information about the device go to 

Dr. Arshad Khanani is the managing partner for Sierra Eye Associates in Reno, NV. For more information go to