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TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 — A promising step towards utilizing retinal cell transplants to deal with blindness is reported in a brand new research.

Grownup retinal stem cells from deceased human donors survived after they had been transplanted into the eyes of non-human primates, in keeping with the researchers.

The cells had been taken from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). It’s a layer of cells that helps and nourishes the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that strains the again of the attention. It helps keep regular imaginative and prescient.

RPE dysfunction may end up in problems equivalent to macular degeneration and may trigger blindness, which impacts about 200 million folks worldwide.

“The outcomes of this research recommend human grownup donor RPE is secure to transplant, strengthening the argument for human scientific trials for treating retina illness,” mentioned co-lead investigator Timothy Blenkinsop. He is an assistant professor of cell, developmental and regenerative biology on the Icahn College of Medication at Mount Sinai, in New York Metropolis.

For the research, his workforce transplanted cell-derived patches beneath the primates’ maculas. The transplants remained steady and built-in for not less than three months with no critical unintended effects, equivalent to being attacked by the immune system or mild sensitivity, in keeping with the report revealed Jan. 14 within the journal Stem Cell Reviews.

The stem cell-derived RPE assumed a number of the operate of the unique RPE, and in addition supported a photoreceptor that helps with capabilities equivalent to mild and water absorption, the findings confirmed.

“We’ve demonstrated human cadaver donor-derived RPE not less than partially replaces operate within the macula of a non-human primate,” Blenkinsop mentioned in a Mount Sinai information launch.

Outcomes of animal research, nonetheless, usually differ in people.

The research authors mentioned RPE stem cell transplantation is a attainable remedy for macular degeneration, however additional analysis is required to substantiate that.

Future research ought to assess whether or not such transplants can restore imaginative and prescient in folks and diseased eyes in non-human primates, the researchers mentioned.

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Posted: January 2021