Breakthrough made in creation of retinal optic tissue

Breakthrough made in creation of retinal optic tissue

A major breakthrough has been made in the creation of retinal optic tissue using embryonic mouse stem cells.

Mototsugu Eiraku and Yoshiki Sasai, of Japanese research foundation RIKEN, and colleagues discovered that embryonic stem cells in mice can assemble to form an optic cup, which is the white, cup-like area in the centre of the optic disc.

"What we"ve been able to do in this study is resolve a nearly century-old problem in embryology, by showing that retinal precursors have the inherent ability to give rise to the complex structure of the optic cup," said Mr Sasai.

He went on to say that scientists are now well on their way to being able to generate organised tissues from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells.

The research has been published in the medical journal Nature.

Also recently, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of California and the WiCell Research Institute claimed that they had made a discovery that could lead to personalised stem cell therapies for people with genetic visual disorders. 

by Emily Tait

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