Scientists a step closer to restoring eyesight
The prospect of restoring the sight of blind people with stem-cell transplants has come a step closer with a study showing that it is possible to grow the light-sensitive cells of the eye in a dish with the help of an artificial retina, scientists said.
For the first time, researchers have not only grown the photo-receptors of the eye in the laboratory from stem cells but transplanted them into eyes of blind mice where the cells have become fully integrated into the complex retinal tissue.
So far the scientists have been unable to show any improvement in the vision of the blind mice – but they are confident that this will soon be possible in further experiments, which should enable them to move to the first clinical trials on patients within five years.
Professor Robin Ali of University College London, who led the research at the Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, said that the technique could lead to stem cell transplants for improving the vision of thousands of people with degenerative eye disorders.
"It paves the way to a human clinical trial because now we have a clear route map of how to do it," Professor Ali said. (© Independent News Service)