Stem cells and vision
Stem cells can preserve vision and thus hold hope for sufferers of macular degeneration, a new reserch has revealed
According to a report published in this month's issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, researchers have shown for the first time that transplanted stem cells can preserve and improve vision in eyes damaged by retinal disease.
Scientists from Harvard's Schepens Eye Research Institute conducted a study on mice and found that the transplanted stem cells developed into retinal cells, thus preventing the death of "at risk" retina cells in the recipient mice and improved the vision of treated mice.
"These findings hold great promise for potential treatments for people suffering from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases," Dr. Michael Young, an assistant scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute and the lead author of the study, said.
The researchers believe that these findings are the first steps toward the use of stem cells for saving existing vision and in future they might also be used for restoring vision that has already been lost.