Stem cell transplantation helps restore vision in rabbits

Stem cell transplantation helps restore vision in rabbits

Researchers have been successful in producing cell types that constitute the retina or cornea using pluripotent stem cells. However, they were unable to recreate the complexity of the whole eye development. Now a team of researchers from Cardiff University and Osaka University have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate multiple cell lineages of the eye, including the lens, cornea, and conjunctiva. Moreover, they were able to restore the vision in rabbits with experimentally induced blindness by surgically transplanting corneal epithelial cells in their eyes. This study is significant because researchers were able to produce the corneal epithelium in the laboratory and then transplant it; and most importantly, the cells were functional in restoring the vision. The research team hopes to conduct human clinical trials of anterior eye transplantation in the future in order to restore visual function.

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