Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Retina - Rod-photoreceptor Transplants
Did you know that loss of functional rod-photoreceptors in the retina is believed to be the cause of blindness in many human eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetes-related blindness? Studies at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology showed that transplanting light-sensitive photoreceptors into the eyes of visually impaired mice restored their vision. After four to six weeks, the transplanted cells used in this first-time procedure had formed the connections needed to transmit visual information to the brain and appeared to be functioning almost as well as normal rod-photoreceptor cells. After additional studies with cone photoreceptor transplantation, it is conceivable that human trials could begin.