Stem cells are actually quite interesting, especially when it is used in the field of regenerative medicine. A lot of people suffer from vision problems and this might be due to the fact that there is damaged to their cornea or retina.
Although there are various treatments to help cure some eye conditions, people with severely damaged eyes would require organ transplantation- something that you cannot get a lot of.
However, scientists from Cardiff University may have found a way for you to help regenerate and restore your eyesight.
Researchers from Cardiff University have managed to successfully restore the vision of blind rabbits in an experiment.
The study involved the creation of some important types of eye tissue that were derived from human stem cells. These tissues were created in such a way that mimics the development of the entire eye.
Once the tissues were transplanted onto the blind rabbits, it initiated a repair sequence that has helped the rabbits restore their vision a few periods after.
Previous studies have suggested that you can actually create eye tissues- the ones that make up the cornea or the retina- from the lab using induced pluripotent stem cells.
According to Professor Andrew Quantock, one of the co-authors of the study, human stem cells can actually be utilized in a way that creates cells that have the same characteristics of the lens, retina, and cornea of the eyes.
In addition, Quantock added that the corneal epithelium can be created in a laboratory and then later, transplanted on to a rabbit’s eye, and it will then start the process of repair and recovery, thus restoring the animal’s vision.
The interesting here is that more than 4,000 corneal grafts are done each year and all of them would rely on human organ donation.
This discovery just reinforces the notion that using stem cells in order to generate cells, tissues, and perhaps even different organs in the body are possible.
The researchers used induced pluripotent stem cells in the study to help generate tissue that mimics the characteristics of the retina, cornea, and the lens.
iPSCs are derived from adult stem cells, which can either be extracted from the person’s bloodstream, bone marrow, or adipose/fat tissue.
They are called as such because they have the characteristic of pluripotency or the ability of cells to change into whatever type of cell in the body.
Induced pluripotent stem cells have become quite successful in recent studies, but it is important to note that all of the studies using this type of cell are only done in laboratories and, thus, no human clinical trials were done yet.
Still, this presents an interesting notion that induced pluripotent stem cells can actually help save lives.
Hopefully, the scientists and researchers will be able to use these cells in order to create tissues or organs so that we do not have to wait for organ donors to come.