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The first patient has been treated in Britain in a pioneering trial of a new treatment co-developed by Pfizer and derived from embryonic stem cells designed for patients with a condition that can cause blindness.The trial will test the safety and efficacy of transplanting eye cells known as retinal pigment epithelium, which have been derived from embryonic stem cells.This trial involves surgeons inserting a specially engineered patch behind the retina to deliver the treatment cells to replace diseased cells at the back of the eye.Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine at UCL, said the trial is important both as potential step toward curing a major cause of blindness, and as a way of deepening understanding of the use of embryonic stem cells in treatments.
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