Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Settling Sight

Immunosuppression enables transplanted human photoreceptor precursor cells to integrate and survive in dog retinas

24 August 2022

Settling Sight

Restoring sight to the blind is the sort of fanciful medical marvel being brought into the realms of possibility by research. A new study considers the idea of introducing healthy cells to an irreparably damaged retina to restore function. Like a child settling into a new school, fitting in and making connections is key to survival. This is difficult to achieve, but functional links between new photoreceptor cells in the outer layer of the retina and cells in deeper layers, which carry signals from the sensors to the brain, is essential. The researchers grew photoreceptor cells from precursor cells in a dish, then transplanted these to dog retinas (pictured, new cells in red). With a new surgical technique, immunosuppression to prevent the host rejecting the transplants, and novel visualisation techniques they saw the cells survive and form connections with the existing structures (green), bringing the ultimate goal into sight.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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