Home pagePress monitoringResearchers grow stem cells to cure glaucoma

Researchers grow stem cells to cure glaucoma

Date: 21.4.2021 

A joint research effort carried out by MIPT scientists and Harvard researchers has yielded retinal cells that can integrate into the retina.

Kredit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.This is the first successful attempt to transplant ganglion cells (retinal neurons that are destroyed by glaucoma) derived from stem cells in a lab setting. Scientists tested the technology in mice and established that the cells successfully integrated and survived for a year. In the future, the researchers plan to create specialized cell banks, which will permit individual, tailored therapy for each patient.

Retinal ganglion cells, commonly damaged in glaucoma, are responsible for the transmission of visual information. The scientists managed to not only grow neurons (retinal ganglion cells are considered specialized neurons), but also transplant them into the eyes of mice, achieving the correct ingrowth of artificial retinal tissue. Without treatment, glaucoma can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and, as a result, the loss of part of the visual field. Progression of this disease can lead to complete blindness.

Retinal cells were grown using special organoids, with the tissue formed in a petri dish, according to Evgenii Kegeles, a junior researcher from MIPT's genomic engineering laboratory. These cells were subsequently transplanted into several groups of mice. The MIPT scientists were responsible for re-isolating and analyzing the transplanted cells. According to scientists, this technology is around 10 years from being ready for use in clinical practice.





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