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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid