A visual guide on using stem cells to treat blindness

Some stories are so sweet or powerful or wonderful – or all three – that they just stick in your mind.

Rosalinda Barrero

Rosalinda Barrero

About 18 months ago Rosalinda and German Barrero came to talk to the CIRM Board about retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a devastating genetic disease that slowly destroys a person’s vision. Contrary to what everyone expected to hear, German said that he was grateful that Rosalinda had RP for one reason: that was how he met her! He said he was in his car, waiting to pick someone up when Rosalinda opened his car door and got in. She was apparently waiting to be picked up, and assumed the car that stopped right in front of her was her then boyfriend. It wasn’t her boyfriend. But the man inside, German, eventually became her husband.

You can see Rosalinda and German talking about RP here.

I think of that love story every time I hear about a new treatment or approach to treating RP, hoping that this will be the one that restores Rosalinda’s vision. Right now we are funding one of the most promising of those approaches with Henry Klassen at the University of California, Irvine, using stem cells to replace the cells destroyed by RP.

Klassen’s work is fascinating, and a new whiteboard video by our friends at Youreka Science and Americans for Cures helps explain what he’s trying to do and why this work could not only benefit people like Rosalinda, but others with vision or neurological problems as well.

It’s a simple, wonderfully visual way of leading you along, step-by-step, and explaining complex science in an engaging and, dare I say, fun way.

But the best thing about it, is that it highlights a treatment that could lead to an even happier ending for Rosalinda and German’s story.

By the way, the video was produced as part of the Americans for Cures Foundation’s Report Back to the Public program. For more information check out the Americans for Cures website.


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2 thoughts on “A visual guide on using stem cells to treat blindness

    • Hi Maneesh. The clinical trial that we are funding for RP is being run by a company called JCyte. You can find out more about their clinical trial which is currently recruiting participants by following this link. You can also read more about the company on their website. We hope this information is helpful to you.

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