More than 15 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration, a disease that can rob patients of their sight. It starts slowly. Over the course of months or years, lumps of cellular debris and new blood vessels can form in the retina, damaging tissue and causing progressive blindness—and in many cases, the effects of the disease are irreversible.
Researchers at Tufts are trying to improve those odds. They are exploring new ways to replace damaged retinal tissue using cells from an unlikely source: a patient’s own dental pulp.