Dr. Gamm focuses his work on the use of stem cells to gain a better understanding of retinal development and diseases and to develop future
therapies to restore lost vision. Stem cells have the power to develop into any cell type in the body, and they have the ability to self-renew, which creates an unlimited supply of cells. Dr. Gamm and his laboratory have generated several strains of stem cells, or iPS cells, derived from skin and blood samples donated from healthy patients and patients with inherited retinal disorders. They are using these iPS cells to create photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, the two cell types lost in retinal degenerative diseases like Choroideremia. One of Dr. Gamm’s Lab’s projects is aimed at placing these cells onto a thin structural backbone to create a two-layer patch that mimics the natural anatomy of these cells in the healthy retina. While still in its early phases, this type of patch could be used as a transplant to restore healthy cells into areas of the retina that have undergone degeneration due to Choroideremia or other retinal degenerative diseases. In addition, creating these retinal patches will enable Dr. Gamm to learn more about how these cells function and interact with each other. His work could lead to a better understanding of retinal disease and perhaps restorative therapy for patients who have lost significant parts of their vision.