In 2017, a patient named Anna Kuehl entered a clinical trial to test a stem cell remedy for macular degeneration. She had noticed a slow loss of vision in her left eye and as it gradually worsened, hope of avoiding loss of  precious sight to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was dimming. In the study, Kuehl was treated by principal investigator and surgeon Amir H. Kashani, MD, at the University of Southern California. As reported recently the investigational procedure worked. Kuel’s vision has greatly improved to the point that she is back to normal activities that were not possible before.

Dr. Kashani implanted a stem cell patch—an ultrathin scaffold with cells that would replace the ones that had disappeared. Imagine if this can work for large number of people facing the scary prospect of AMD. Serving as principal investigator for this clinical trial, testing a novel stem cell therapy for severe vision loss from advanced dry age-related macular degeneration, the preliminary results of this study were published in Science Translation Medicine in April 2018.

Dr. Amir H. Kishani

Amir H. Kashani, MD, PhD attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he obtained both his MD and PhD in Neuroscience in 2006. He completed an internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2017 and ophthalmology residence at the USC Roski Eye Institute from 2007-2010. He then completed a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at the top-rated Associated Retinal Consultants in Royal Oak, Michigan. During this training, he was awarded both the Heed and Michel’s Fellowships (National Honors given on a competitive basis among all vitreoretinal trainees in the country) during his training. In his clinical practice, he treats patients with medical and surgical retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, age-related macular degeneration and retinal detachments among other common retinal diseases. He also specializes in complex retinal detachment surgeries.

In the laboratory, Dr. Kashani is developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic methods to diagnose and treat retinal diseases. His investigates the use of advanced imaging spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography methods to improve the early detection of chronic diseases like diabetic retinopathy, retinal venous occlusion and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Kashani is the principal investigator for a clinical trial to test a novel stem cell therapy for severe vision loss from advanced dry age-related macular degeneration. The preliminary results of this study were published in Science Translation Medicine in April 2018. In recognition of his cutting edge research, Dr. Kashani has been recognized internationally by his peers. In 2016, he was named as one of the top 150 innovators in the field of medical and surgical retina by Ocular Surgery News. In 2017, he was named as one of the top 50 “rising stars” world-wide in the field of ophthalmology by The Ophthalmologist. Dr. Kashani has co-authored more than 40 peer reviewed articles in the scientific literature, several subject reviews, and recently co-authored an ophthalmology book entitled “Optical Coherence Tomography and OCT Angiography: Clinical Reference and Case Studies.” Dr. Kashani clinical work has been recognized by multiple organizations and publications including Pasadena’s Top Doctors, America’s Top Ophthalmologist, Best Doctors in America, Marquis Who’s Who in the World.

Source: Keck School Faculty

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