Successful transplantation and connection of stem-cell derived nerve cells into glaucoma-damaged retinas
Glaucoma, which results from destruction of the nerves that connect the eye’s retinal cells to the brain, can cause progressive vision loss, particularly in older people. And, once those nerve cells, called retinal ganglion cells, are gone, they are gone for good. But new research in a mouse model of glaucoma suggests stem cell therapy may one day offer a chance at retinal ganglion cell replacement. This image shows transplanted retinal ganglion cells (green) in the retina (red) of a mouse with experimental glaucoma. Scientists were able to produce these ganglion cells from stem cells through special culturing conditions and showed that the cells could integrate into the retina, connect electrically to other neurons, and survive in the animals for up to twelve months. Whether the cells can send signals to the brain and actually restore lost vision is the crucial next question to be tackled.
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