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Retinal cells transplanted into blind mice

23 September 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

lab–mice–mouse.jpgRetinal cells, necessary for colour vision, have been successfully transplanted into blind mice. The mice were engineered to mimic a form of childhood blindness called Leber's congenital amaurosis.

Cells for the transplant were extracted from the eyes of newborn mice. Then 200,000 cells were injected into each eye at the rear of the retina. Within 21 days the transplanted cells grew into rod and cone cells - the cells responsible for detecting light/dark, and determining colour.

It has still to be demonstrated that the cells become functional and restore any sight, however the fact that they became established and grew into the correct cell types is promising. The ultimate aim of the work is to provide a treatment for the one in 3,000 people affected by incurable genetically inherited retinal disease.