Dr. Michael Young’s laboratory studies repair of the mature central nervous system, specifically following degeneration that occurs in the retina during disease or injury. The lab has focused on the use of stem or progenitor cells, which they have isolated from a number of regions of the neuraxis of several different mammalian species.
During the last 10 years, work in the Young lab has established that neural stem or progenitor cells overcome the barrier to morphological integration present in the mature mammalian retina. They have also demonstrated that neural stem cells are an inherently immune privileged tissue, and survive in conventional sites in allogeneic recipients. The lab has isolated stem cells from the mouse, pig, and human retina, and have shown that such cells are capable of photoreceptor differentiation.
Dr. Young and his associates have now embarked upon a series of studies with the goal of establishing a novel stem cell therapy using retinal progenitor cells grafted to the mature, diseased host retina. This approach will allow them to make important steps toward their goal of functional restoration of vision.