Stem cells can be transplanted to the retina
Transplanting stem cells to a diseased retina may be a method of treating certain common eye disorders in the future. In her dissertation, Lund scientist Anita Blixt Wojciechowski reports research findings that enhance the knowledge needed to make this treatment possible.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a hereditary retinal disease that affects one person in 3,500 and leads to severe vision impairment or blindness. Age-related deterioration of the yellow spot, the part of the retina that is most crucial to sharp vision, is another common cause of vision impairment. This disease (age related macular disease) affects nearly a third of all people over the age of 75. Today there is no good treatment for either disease.
Anita Blixt Wojciechowskis research involves transplanting fetal stem cells from rats to the eyes of adult rats. She has experienced both success and failure in her work.
- We managed to get the transplanted cells to integrate and spread in the hosts retina. On the other hand, they did not develop into new, healthy nerve cells but rather into glia cells, which constitute a sort of support tissue, she says.
Many research teams have had trouble getting stem cells to develop into nerve cells. But there is an alternative solution. It should be possible to have the transplanted cells carry with them growth factors and other substances that can save the sick cells. They could also be supplied with genes that produce the substances that the sick cells are no longer capable of producing. For these purposes the transplanted stem cells do not need to develop into nerve cells. They can just as well be glia cells.
The ideal solution in the future would be to take stem cells from the patients themselves, according to Anita Blixt Wojciechowski. There are in fact stem cells on the edge of the retina even in adults. If these could be removed, cultivated in larger quantities, supplied with genes to produce the necessary substances, and then transplanted back into the diseased eye, there would be no problems of rejection and no ethical problems involving fetal stem cells. Its a long road, but a few steps have now been taken in the right direction.
Ingela Björck | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...