Saturday, July 5, 2014

Retina Grown from Stem Cells

Researchers were able to grow a light-sensitive retina by taking adult stem cells and re-programming them back to an embryonic state
Retina grown from stem cells could allow blind to see again



This is another obvious target for stem cell work and one likely to do no further harm as well.  It may well turn out to be easier than most as well.  What is happening is that the low hanging targets are now been gobbled up.

I also think now that all such problems will be deemed as solved in about twenty years.  That is not a particularly long time.  It is just that we have the research manpower and the labs able to make this work.


Add in longevity treatments and their like and we all need to work toward been still on Earth twenty years from now however painful that might sometimes be.


It is possible that our birth rate has dropped off because life extension will actually pick up the slack.

Human retina tissue grown in laboratory in breakthrough that could eventually treat patients with macular degeneration, one of the most common forms of blindness

Researchers were able to grow a light-sensitive retina by taking adult stem cells and re-programming them back to an embryonic state Photo: Johns Hopkins Medicine/ PA
Scientists have grown human retina from stem cells in an experiment which will give hope to hundreds of thousands of patients with macular degeneration.
The breakthrough, which involved growing tissue in a pertri-dish, could restore sight in people suffering from a variety of retinal diseases, according to academics from John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Researchers were able to grow a light-sensitive retina by taking adult stem cells and re-programming them back to an embryonic state.

Lead scientist Dr Valeria Canto-Soler, said: "We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the architectural organisation of the retina but also has the ability to sense light.

"The work advances opportunities for vision-saving research and may ultimately lead to technologies that restore vision in people with retinal diseases."

The retina is the layer of photo-sensitive cells and neurons at the back of the eye that converts light signals into nerve messages transmitted to the brain.

During the experiment, Dr Canto-Soler's team were able to encourage initial growth of the retina, which then continued developing on its own.

"When we began this work, we didn't think stem cells would be able to build up a retina almost on their own," Dr Canto-Soler said. "In our system, somehow the cells knew what to do."

At a stage equivalent to 28 weeks of foetal development, the scientists tested the mini-retina by exposing it to pulses of light. They found that the lab-grown photoreceptors responded to light the same way as they do in the human eye.

Dr Canto-Soler, whose research is published in Nature Communications, said the technique opened up the possibility of generating hundreds of mini-retinas at a time from a person affected by blinding diseases.

These could be used to study the causes of retinal diseases in human tissue, rather than relying on animal models.

Drugs tailored to individual patients could also be tested on the structures. In the long term, diseased or dead retinal tissue could be replaced by laboratory-grown cells to restore vision, Dr Canto-Soler added.

Age-related macular degeneration, which is caused by a problem with the retina, is the leading cause of visual impairment in the UK, affecting up to 500,000 people, according to NHS figures.

It is most common in people over 50, with one in 10 people over the age of 65 thought to be suffering from the condition to some extent.

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