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Could be used to help scientists learn how to treat blindness, as well as diseases that can hinder eyesight

Researchers from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology have become the first to grow a complex organ using embryonic stem cells from mice.

Yoshiki 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. 

Other 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. 

Now, 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. 

Sasai 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. 

In addition, Sasai would also like to see "banks" of healthy retina cells created so that they can be transplanted into patients when needed. 

"We 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.

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RE: Keep working on this
By CrazyBernie on 4/7/2011 10:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
Watch out for the Repo Men.

RE: Keep working on this
By phrizzo on 4/7/2011 3:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
CrazyBernie: Repo Men

Your right! Have you ever seen the musical "Repo! The Genetic Opera"? It's great - in a Rocky Horror meets Mystery Science Theater 3000.

GulWestfale: Americans wouldn't use it for breast enlargement ... now penis enlargment - that's a different story.

Check out the mouse with an ear growing on its back:

RE: Keep working on this
By Belard on 4/7/2011 5:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
Repo Men, rip off - but still could have been a bit better, but it was rather PG13 and the ending in the repo room didn't make much sense.

Also the business model of selling the parts SO HIGH that pretty much almost nobody can afford the "parts" - such as the RICH guy in the penthouse... would not work. Many parts would not be re-usable and killing patients would be a loss.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is the one to really see. Love how it was made on such a tiny budget for the love of the story. ;)
Still, its rude that the studio ripped off the story from the director... :(

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