An untreatable genetic disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), may soon have a cure. Scientists have been able to successfully grow eye tissue in a lab and then transplant it into monkeys. Not only did the cells survive post-transplant, but they were able to integrate with the recipient’s eye cells, forming connections across which information could potentially flow. (Here).
RP is a group of genetic diseases which involves the loss of cells in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue in the eye which contains photoreceptors).
The study first began with researches from Japan growing retinal tissue from human stem cells. These tissues were then transplanted into rodents that did not have retina degeneration. To their surprise, the tissue matured and formed layers of photoreceptors and light-sensitive cells. The researches then recreated the experiment on monkeys with retinal degeneration with the same success.
The success of these studies demonstrates the clinical feasibility of retina transplantation and the optimization of transplantation strategies for future clinical applications. (Here).