Advanced Cell Technology Inc, of Marlborough, Mass. Said on Thursday that it has received approval from UK authorities to treat patients with a type of blindness known as Stargard’s Macular Distrophy using cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

The procedure will use a cell layer derived from hESCs known as retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) to repair the eye’s retina and reduce the impact of disease, according to Rabin.

Blindness in Stargardt’s disease results from the degeneration of RPE cells, causing a loss of photoreceptors in the eye, also known as cones and rods through which sight functions.

ACT called the step “another important milestone for ACT and for the field of regenerative medicine.”

The trial is the first in approved outside the U.S. and a first for Europe, according to Robert Lanza M.D. ACT’s chief scientific officer.

The European trial is similar to the one approved by U.S. authorities at the Food and Drug Administration in July, ACT said.

A young woman who was already legally blind was treated in the U.S. with stem cell-derived RPE cells, ACT said.

Gary Rabin, chairman and chief executive officer of ACT said Moorields Eye Hospital in London would participate as a site for the study.