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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus 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