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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 bill4 on 4/8/2011 9:31:21 AM , Rating: 3
I like how it's "the americans". those big bad "americans".

Anyways this will never amount to anything, science is too stupid. 15 years ago they were swearing regrowing human teeth for dentistry was right around the corner (google something like "regrow human teeth", and note the ancient dates of all the articles that come up). of course, never happened. And teeth would be umpteen million times easier than eyes. These types of stories always promise a lot and NOTHING ever comes of them.

Hell, the last medical thing I read was about how drug resistant bacteria was getting more and more widespread and frightening. Pretty sure science should try to figure that simple one out (as if they can) before growing any eyes, just sayin.

Pretty odd how out of all these comments, none will point that out. Do you guys not notice how routine these types of stories promising big medical advances are, and how they NEVER pan out? Are you that oblivious to your surroundings? Oh well, guess thats why most americans believe Global warming is real...

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