Stem Cell Transplant Treats Retinitis Pigmentosa in Mice, Restores Sight
January 8, 2013 10:06 AM
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Developing cells were transplanted into the eyes of blind mice, ultimately allowing them to see again
Oxford University scientists have found a valid treatment for retinitis pigmentosa through stem cells and
The study, led by Professor Robert MacLaren in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, transplanted developing cells into the eyes of blind mice, ultimately allowing them to see again.
Using mice that had a complete loss of photoreceptor cells in their retinas, which allows them to sense light, the researchers transplanted developing stem cells into their eyes. After two weeks, the cells recreated a full light-detecting layer on the retina.
To test whether the
mice could actually see
, the researchers performed a pupil constriction test. Ten out of the 12 mice responded to the light and ran away to the dark, showing that their retinas were sensing light and this reaction was transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain.
"Stem cells have been trialled in patients to replace the pigmented lining of the retina, but this new research shows that the light-sensing layer might also be replaced in a similar way," said MacLaren. "The light-sensing cells have a highly complex structure and we observed that they can resume function as a layer and restore connections after transplantation into the completely blind retina.
"We have shown the transplanted cells survive, they become light-sensitive, and they connect and reform the wiring to the rest of the retina to restore vision. The ability to reconstruct the entire light sensitive layer of the retina using cell transplantation is the ultimate goal of the stem cell treatments for blindness we are all working towards."
This study was published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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1/9/2013 1:59:29 AM
I was diagnosed with RP at the end of 2007 so I try and keep up with any news surrounding a possible cure and i've read these stories of mice and rodents being cured of blindness through stemcell implant so many times.There have even been studies with larger animals , pigs and special tiny scafolding to have the cells grow in the right place in the eye.Never to be heard from again.So research is going on and a lot of it is encouraging but it seems the actual science behind this and getting it from rodent to human involves many hurdles yet to take.I joke that over the years i've started becoming jealous of all these rodents getting cured if people ask about possible cures for my disease.
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