Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

The Progress of Stem Cell Treatment ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity)

By Drs. Li-Ke Wu, Xiaojuan Wang, Bo Cheng, Susan Chu, Mary Zhang
Wu Medical Center

The retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is because of prematurity, low weight when the patient is born and long time hypoxia which results in retinal fibrovascular hyperplasia or contraction, then leads to the tractional detachment of the retina, retrolental fibroplasia and blindness. The mechanism undeveloped retina blood vessels cannot work against the superoxide damage and formed the retinopathy.

The ROP can be divided into 5 degrees (I-V). When the fibrogenesis achieved IV-V the patient had severe vision loss and till now there has been no effective method that can deal with it.

The stem cell tech provide a new type of treatment method for ROP. The principles of the treatment are:

1. Stem cells can differentiate into retinal vessel endothelial cells, repair the blood vessels and blood capillary, improve the blood supply to the retina tissue, accelerate the retina development and functional improvement.

2. Some secreted nutrients by stem cells (such as adherence factor) can help the detached retina tissue re-adhesion gradually, soften the scar tissue and repair the fibroplasia.

3. The stem cells can improve the retina cells reserve, improve the retina function to fight against the damage or disease and improve the self-restore function of retina tissue. When the patient's blood supply improves it can help retina development again and improve the visual ability.

Doctors can design further treatment protocols according to patient visual ability recovery conditions. For example, some cases also have severe macula deficit, the neural stem cells can differentiate into neural photoreceptor cells to support the macula function and improve patient eyesight.

But these kind of treatments should be performed with strict clinical tech support since the patient's own retina tissue had damage or even death already and there is a lot of scar tissue formed. The implanted stem cells cannot work in such a bad pathological environment so the pure stem cell implantation will be invalid in the actual clinical treatment.

Doctors in Wu medical center (WMC) have developed effective ROP treatment with stem cells after 15 years clinical treatment.
Cases follow up work should include:
-   experienced doctors evaluate patient eyesight recovery condition
   -    monitor the stem cells work conditions and patient body condition
   -    control the treatment effect
   -    adjust the treatment plan according to the actual clinical conditions                  

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