Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Scientists Transplant Photoreceptors from Retina Grown ‘In a Dish’

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Study suggests that embryonic stem cells provide unlimited supply of healthy photoreceptors to treat blindness in humans.

UCL scientists have carried out the first successful transplant of light-sensitive photoreceptor cells extracted from a synthetic retina, grown ‘in a dish’ from embryonic stem cells.

When transplanted into night-blind mice these cells appeared to develop normally, integrating into the existing retina and forming the nerve connections needed to transmit visual information to the brain.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and published in Nature Biotechnology, suggests that embryonic stem cells could in future provide a potentially unlimited supply of healthy photoreceptors for retinal cell transplantations to treat blindness in humans.

The loss of photoreceptors - light sensitive nerve cells that line the back of the eye - is a leading cause of sight loss in degenerative eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetes-related blindness.

There are two types of photoreceptor in the eye - rods and cones. Rod cells are especially important for seeing in the dark as they are extremely sensitive to even low levels of light.

Previous work by Professor Robin Ali and his team at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital has shown that transplanting immature rod cells from the retinas of healthy mice into blind mice can restore their sight. However, in humans this type of therapy would not be practical for the thousands of patients in need of treatment.

Using a new laboratory technique involving 3D culture and differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells, which was developed recently in Japan, Prof Ali’s team were able to grow retinas containing all the different nerve cells needed for sight.

Professor Ali, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, who led the research, said: “Over recent years scientists have become pretty good at working with stem cells and coaxing them to develop into different types of adult cells and tissues. But until recently the complex structure of the retina has proved difficult to reproduce in the lab. This is probably because the type of cell culture we were using was not able to recreate the developmental process that would happen in a normal embryo.

“The new 3D technique more closely mimics normal development, which means we are able to pick out and purify the cells at precisely the right stage to ensure successful transplantation. The next step will be to refine this technique using human cells to enable us to start clinical trials.”

The researchers grew retinal precursor cells using the new 3D culture method and compared them closely with cells developed normally, looking for different markers at different stages of development. They also carried out tests to look at the genes being expressed by the two types of cells to make sure they were biologically equivalent.

They then transplanted around 200,000 of the artificially grown cells by injecting them into the retina of night blind mice. Three weeks after transplantation the cells had moved and integrated into the recipient mouse retina and were beginning to look like normal mature rod cells. These cells were still present six weeks after transplantation. The researchers also saw nerve connections (synapses), suggesting that the transplanted cells were able to connect with the existing retinal circuitry.

Dr Rob Buckle, Head of Regenerative Medicine at the MRC, said: “Regenerative medicine holds a great deal of promise for treating degenerative diseases and the eye is one area in particular where scientists are making very rapid progress. This study is an important milestone on the road to developing a widely available cell therapy for blindness as it proves unequivocally that embryonic stem cells can provide a renewable source of photoreceptors that could be used in treatments.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Biomarker to Assess Stem Cells Developed
A research team led by scientists from UCL have found a way to assess the viability of 'manufactured' stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The team's discovery offers a new way to fast-track screening methods used in stem cell research.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Autolus Launches With £30m Investment
UCL cancer immunotherapy company, Autolus is launches to develop T-cell therapies for haematological and solid tumours.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
UCL Research Helps Paralyzed Man to Recover Function
UCL scientists develop a pioneering cell transplantation treatment.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
UCL Leads London Project to Beat Blindness
The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is leading a project launched to develop a therapy that could restore the sight of a quarter of over-60s in the UK.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Scientific News
Lasers Carve the Path to Tissue Engineering
A new technique, developed at EPFL, combines microfluidics and lasers to guide cells in 3D space, overcoming major limitations to tissue engineering.
New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Harming Normal Immunity
Preclinical study from Penn shows that engineered T cells can selectively target the antibody-producing cells that cause autoimmune disease.
Harnessing An Innate Repair Mechanism Enhances The Success Of Retinal Transplantation
Cross-species research in flies and mice could help solve a major roadblock to successful stem cell replacement therapies in degenerative diseases of the retina, including age-related macular degeneration.
A New Way Out for Stem Cells
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that therapeutic stem cells exit the bloodstream in a different manner than was previously thought.
Manufactured Stem Cells To Advance Clinical Research
Clinical-grade cell line will enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research.
Starving Stem Cells May Enable Scientists To Build Better Blood Vessels
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have uncovered how changes in metabolism of human embryonic stem cells help coax them to mature into specific cell types — and may improve their function in engineered organs or tissues.
Long-Term Culturing of Adult Stem Cells
A new procedure developed by Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers (HSCI) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may revolutionize the culturing of adult stem cells.
Naked Mole Rat Exhibits “Extraordinary” Cancer Resistance
Scientists are getting closer to understanding the anti-cancer mechanism of the naked mole rat by making induced pluripotent stem cells.
Solutions for Biotherapeutic Characterization
Innovation to speed the routine.
Reclaiming The Immune System's Assault On Tumors
EPFL study shows a way to reclaim corrupted immune cells.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!