Stem cells and sight: “And the blind shall see again”

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Some days the future arrives faster than others—this is one of those days.

Researchers from Oxford University just announced that they had restored light-sensitivity to nocturnal mice missing photoreceptors. That’s right—they helped blind mice see again.

Two-weeks after transplanting mouse precursor cells (stem cells that are already started down the path of developing into retinal cells) into mice without light-sensing photoreceptor cells, these mice were running to the dark and hiding from the light—which is exactly how fully-sighted nocturnal mice behave.

In a follow-up pupil constriction test, 10 out of the 12 mice they started with all showed improved pupil constriction in response to light—meaning their retinas were responding to light and the messages was being sent down the optic nerve.

For humans, this is good news. The hope is that a similar procedure will be used in treating currently untreatable degenerative eye diseases like retinitis pigementosa.

View the original article here: And The Blind Shall See Again: Further Adventures In Stem Cells And Sight

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