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 Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>