Researchers at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology have improved the eyesight of mice born with night blindness by injecting healthy light-sensitive cells from pups into their retinas.
The results have raised hopes that a similar therapy could help to reverse some forms of human blindness, like age-related macular degeneration.
In the experiment, scientists injected 200000 photoreceptor cells taken from newborn mice into the eyes of adult mice with a genetic form of night blindness. The mice showed an improvement in eyesight. In this video, we can see the experiment:
The retina contains two kinds of light sensitive cells: rods and cones. In mice and humans more than 95% are rods, which work well in the dark and are good at spotting movement, but see the world in black and white. Cones give a sharp, colour view of the world in good lightning conditions
In the latest experiments, scientists used only rods because they are easier to transplant, but they are now trying with plans to repeat the work with cone cells.
Scientists need to clear some major hurdles before considering to transplant rod and cone cells for human clinical trials. Is important to make suitable donor cells and considering wether donor cells last for long when transplanted, or are rejected by the body’s immune system.
I taked this article from The Guardian http://gu.com/p/37x6h .
The original source is the journal of science Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10997.html , where we can find some supplementary information, like the the picture upside and a supplementary movie: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/extref/nature10997-s2.mov .
In my opinion, even if the experiment has been just tried with animals, it could be an important research. It can help to treat some types of blindness in the future.