Blog Post #378:  Amazing Grace: I once was blind, but now I see

Blog Post #378:  Amazing Grace: I once was blind, but now I see

Taken from: http://theconversation.com/curing-blindness-with-stem-cells-heres-the-latest-science-92412

How about that – the blind can see; the deaf can hear; the lame can walk!!  Okay, this article is about being blind – and the hope of using stem cells. Two comments first – it is not immediate; and it will probably be expensive (at least at first).

The article says:

“In 2006, Nature published a paper describing how stem cells could be used to restore sight in blind mice. This study, and similar subsequent studies, created a lot of excitement about the potential of stem cells to cure blindness in humans. Fast forward 12 years and we still don’t seem to be quite there – one notable human clinical trial in Japan was stopped in 2015 due to a risk of tumour development in a patient’s eye. So are we any closer to using stem cell therapies to treat blindness, or will we always be “ten years away”?

The retina is an important tissue at the back of the eye that senses light and sends visual information to the brain. Eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration are characterised by damage to retina cells, which can eventually lead to vision loss and blindness. Scientists hope to find a way to replace or preserve damaged retina cells in order to treat these eye diseases.”

“Stem cells might be useful for this because they can be triggered to turn into any type of cell. In 2010 scientists successfully guided stem cells into becoming retina cells in a laboratory. It is hoped that these cells could later be delivered into the diseased eye to replace or preserve damaged retina cells.”

So, good news – although not quite today.  There are risks of rejection. The best risks are from stem cells from the individual; but that might not be possible – and stem cells from donors require additional medications to handle possible rejection.

But – it still is exciting!!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White

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