Lab-grown cells restore eyesight in mice

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2013, 14:16 PM IST

London: Scientists have claimed that it is possible to grow the light-sensitive cells of the eye in a lab with the help of an artificial retina.

Photoreceptors of the eye were grown in the lab from stem cells and then they were transplanted into eyes of the blind mice where the cells fully integrated into the complex retinal tissue, the Independent reported.

So far, the scientists have been not been able to show any improvement in the vision of the blind mice but are confident that this will soon be possible in further experiments.

Professor Robin Ali of University College London, who led the research at the Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, explained that the new technique may lead to stem cell transplants for improvement of the vision of thousands of people, who are suffering from degenerative eye disorders, which was caused by the progressive loss of photosensitive cells.

Ali and his team took stem cells from mouse embryos and with the help of an artificial retina growing in a laboratory dish grew them into light-sensitive rod cells, this allowed the rod cells to develop the complex 3D structure, which is important for them to function correctly.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.