News / Science & Technology

Procedure Could Reverse Common Form of Blindness

Scientists say they have taken a major step in reversing common forms of blindness.
Scientists say they have taken a major step in reversing common forms of blindness.

Related Articles

Scientists Explore Stem Cells to Treat Diabetic Blindness

Blind mice injected with cells show improvement in lab tests

Audio Northern Sudan Set to Eliminate River Blindness

Experts believe that de-worming medication is responsible for eradicating river blindness in Abu Hamed
VOA News
Scientists have taken a major step toward potentially reversing a common form of blindness.

Researchers at the University College London (UCL) successfully transplanted light-sensitive photoreceptor cells from a synthetic retina that was grown from embryonic stem cells into night-blind mice. Photoreceptor cells are light sensitive nerve cells at the back of the eye. Many forms of blindness -- including age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetes-related blindness -- are caused by the loss of these cells.

The transplanted cells appeared to develop normally into the mice’s retina and formed nerve connections needed to communicate visual information to the brain, the researchers said.

In the future, the process could provide an unlimited supply of healthy photoreceptor cells for transplantation into human retinas.

“Over recent years scientists have become pretty good at working with stem cells and coaxing them to develop into different types of adult cells and tissues,” said Professor Robin Ali of UCL. “But until recently, the complex structure of the retina has proved difficult to reproduce in the lab. This is probably because the type of cell culture we were using was not able to recreate the developmental process that would happen in a normal embryo.”

The researchers grew the cells using a 3D culture method developed in Japan. Throughout the process, the cells were compared to cells developed normally to ensure they were biologically equivalent. Scientists then transplanted about 200,000 of the cells and injected them into the retina of night-blind mice.

Three weeks after the procedure, the injected cells began to look like normal, mature photoreceptor cells. Six weeks after the procedure, the cells were still there, and researchers noticed nerve connections with the existing retinal circuitry.

“The new 3D technique more closely mimics normal development, which means we are able to pick out and purify the cells at precisely the right stage to ensure successful transplantation,” said Ali. “The next step will be to refine this technique using human cells to enable us to start clinical trials.”

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cristobal DeLicia from: Cambridge, MA
July 22, 2013 7:09 PM
If we had funded embryonic stem cell research from the beginning, such discoveries would have been made in America. Because it became a political football, we will have to wait for other countries to find cures and treatments in this very promising field.

by: Andres Arcesio Torres Cano
July 22, 2013 6:04 PM
Magnificent news, mothers cells have great potential to cure many diseases that have minimized the quality of life for some people, the case that has surprised me in China is experimenting with a patient with limited mobility, making improvements with other treatments never come to get. still a long way to go and can not forget the opposition of religion to these experiments ( http://fajaspieldeangel.com/6-fajas-postquirurgica ).

by: Star from: USA
July 22, 2013 4:39 PM
i seee.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More