For the first time, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made early retina structures containing proliferating neuroretinal progenitor cells using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from human blood.
The retina structures also showed the capacity to form layers of cells, just as the retina does in normal human development.These cells possessed the machinery that could allow them to communicate information – Light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina along the back wall of the eye produce impulses that are ultimately transmitted through the optic nerve and then to the brain, allowing you to see.
Put together, these findings suggest that it is possible to assemble human retinal cells into more complex retinal tissues, all starting from a routine patient blood sample.
The UW researchers envision many applications of laboratory-built human retinal tissues, including using them to test drugs and study degenerative diseases of the retina such as retinitis pigmentosa, a prominent cause of blindness in children and young adults.It may also be possible, one day, to replace multiple layers of the retina in order to help patients with more widespread retinal damage.
This study out of Wisconsin reinforces the amazing promise that stem cells hold in treating a variety of diseases and conditions.Some conditions, such as joint, tendon and muscle injury, are treatable now with stem cells.Other conditions, such as ALS, diabetes, heart disease and MS, appear to be treatable, but widespread treatment is still in the near-future.
Read the full University of Wisconsin-Madison press release here.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, has been sucessfully preforming stem cell therapy for several years. Dr. Lox is located in the Tampa bay area in Clearwater, Florida
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not for medical diagnosis or treatment.If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult with your physician.