Research: Blind Mice See Again After Stem Cell Transplant.

18 Mar

You’ve probably heard of the three blind mice. Well, now the classic rhyme just changed: Three blind mice, three blind mice, NOW-THEY -CAN-SEE! At least, that seems to be the case…

According to research done at Oxford University and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, blind mice can see again after researchers transplanted developing cells into their eyes and discovered the mice grew a new light-sensitive layer of the retina.

This may lead to a possible treatment to restore vision in retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. It is most common for patients to lose vision when the outer retinal photoreceptor (light sensitive) layer is lost, and so it would be best to attempt to restore vision at this stage of the disease.

The study used mice that were blind from a total loss of retinal photoreceptor cells so they’d be as similar to humans with retinitis pigmentosa as possible.

According to Science Daily: “After two weeks, the researchers showed the cells transplanted into the eye had re-formed a full light-detecting layer on the retina and the mice could see. The cells used were mouse ‘precursor’ cells that are on an initial path towards developing into retinal cells.

“A pupil constriction test showed that, of the 12 mice that received the cell transplant, 10 showed improved pupil constriction in response to light. This shows that the retinas of the mice were sensing the light once more, and this was being transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain.”

There is a lot of work to be done, but this research gives a lot of promise for the future.

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