from the RIKEN
Centre for Developmental Biology have become the first to grow
a complex organ using embryonic stem cells from mice.
Sasai, study leader from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe,
Japan, and a team of researchers, have used embryonic stem cells from mice to create a rudimentary
eye, which could eventually allow scientists to treat blindness and
other eye-related problems.
researchers in the past have participated in similar research, but were not
able to create a complex organ such as the eye from a group of cells. For
instance, Professor Robin Ali, a molecular geneticist at the UCL Institute of
Ophthalmology in London, successfully transplanted light-sensitive cells from
newborn mice to the retinas of adult mice. Ali is still unsure as to whether
the vision of the adult mice has improved.
Sasai has grown an eye by using an
optic cup, which is a structure that holds light-sensitive cells and neurons
required to see properly. The optic cup is responsible for forming the retina.
The team then cultured a floating cluster of embryonic stem cells, and the
cells required to make the eye took shape on their own. The result was a 2mm
diameter eye, which is the size of an eye of an infant mouse.
hopes this research can be used to help scientists learn how to treat blindness, as
well as diseases that can hinder eyesight. Currently, there are 3,500
people with a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes degeneration
of the retina.
addition, Sasai would also like to see "banks" of healthy retina
cells created so that they can be transplanted into patients when needed.
hope such transplantation may recover vision, at least to some partial extent,
in patients who lost their eyesight," said Sasai.
This study was
published in Nature.
quote: you know what the americans will use this technology for, right? helping the blind? regrowing amputated limbs? replacing failed organs? nope. breast augmentation.