Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have successfully grown light-sensing retinal cells from human skin cells.
The ability to grow retinal cells may someday be used to treat degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa by enabling doctors to repair damage to the retina with new cells generated from the patient’s skin.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin manipulated human skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells, which can be used to grow into any tissue in the body.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, indicates that the ability to create human retinal cells helps researchers better understand how eyes develop, enabling them to better treat genetic eye conditions.
SOURCE: Modeling early retinal development with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, Meyer, et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/08/24/0905245106.abstract