Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fish eyes could hold clue to repairing damaged retinas in humans

02.08.2007
A special type of cell found in the eye has been found to be very important in regenerating the retina in zebrafish and restoring vision even after extensive damage. Now, a UK team of scientists believe they may be able to use these cells – known as Müller glial cells – to regenerate damaged retina in humans, according to a study published this month in the journal Stem Cells.

Retinal damage is responsible for the majority of cases of blindness. Diseases damaging the retina including macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes are responsible for three quarters of registered blindness in the UK(1).

Researchers at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital have studied these Müller glial cells in the eyes of people from 18 months to 91 years of age. In research funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Helen Hamlyn Trust, the team showed that a population of these cells have stem cell properties and are able to develop into a range of different retinal cells. The researchers were able to develop the cells in vitro into all the types of neurons found in the retina.

When tested in rat models with diseased retinas, the cells migrated into the retina and took on the characteristics of the surrounding neurons. The researchers are now looking at developing this approach for use in the human eye. In addition to growing the cells in the lab and transplanting them back into the eye, the researchers are looking at ways to stimulate growth and persuading the eye to repair itself using its own cells.

... more about:
»Retina »Treatment »damaged

"Müller cells with stem cell properties could potentially restore sight to someone who is losing or has lost their sight due to diseased or damaged retina," says Dr Astrid Limb, who led the study. "Our findings have enormous potential.”

"It may be possible to store the cells in a cell bank and transplant them into the eye or to use cells from a person's own eye."

Using their own cells rather than a donor's has the advantage that their immune system is less likely to reject the treatment.

Although Müller glial cells are present in the human eye, it is not clear whether they already automatically repair the retina in some people but not in others. It is possible that internal mechanisms exist in the normal adult retina that prevent these cells from dividing and replicating.

"Our next step is to identify which factor is responsible for blocking the regeneration," says Dr Limb. "Once we know how this mechanism works, we will be much closer to developing a treatment."

The UCL researchers hope that the research may lead to a treatment within five to ten years, for cells isolated from a person's own eye. However, the need to overcome the immune response for transplantation of a donor's cells means that this second approach would take longer.

Professor Peng T Khaw, Director of the new National Institute for Health Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology commented: “We urgently need new treatments that give us the hope of restoring vision in people who have lost sight. This is one of the interesting treatments we hope to be developing through to benefit patients in the next few years at the new Centre."

Craig Brierley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

Further reports about: Retina Treatment damaged

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>