Japanese Scientists First use of Skin Cells to Restore Visual Acuity

20 May

Produced by Japanese researchers reported their first successful from a female patient’s skin cells by reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cell, iPSC) transplanted into her own eyes, she eventually partially restored loss of vision. 2016 Vision and Scientific Association for their eyes, held in Seattle (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, ARVO) annual meeting, a report of their findings.
Restore Visual Acuity
This patient was a 70-year-old diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — a major cause of impaired vision — the elderly lady. As part of a preliminary study, she received the experimental treatment in 2014. Now, nearly two years after the transplant occurred, these researchers share their findings.

These researchers get the name from the old lady’s arm a small skin sample (diameter 4mm), and on which the skin cells were genetically modified to efficiently transform them into iPSC.

As a pluripotent stem cell, iPSC can produce almost any type of body tissue, which is obtained from the arm skin cells can change and causes retinal tissue.

Once behind the retina induced iPSC by retinal pigment epithelium (retinal pigment epithelium, RPE), were cultured in the laboratory after they form a layer of thin sheet-like organization, then this sheet-like tissue transplantation in this patient .

In 2014, the project supervisor, Japan RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology Scientists Masayo Takahashi said, “I did not have the side effects of the transplant are very pleased. However, this is only the first step in the iPSC for regenerative medicine, but it I lit my determination to continue to explore, until this treatment method can be used to treat many patients. ”

Although this is still in the early stages of this experimental treatment, but so far the results are promising.

Researchers have been delayed prior to the disclosure of their findings until they are now monitoring this patient’s condition improved, and how to detect these modified cells successfully continued survival, but they only reported these transplanted cells can survive more than a year time, and no adverse reactions, which leads to this patient’s visual acuity improved slightly.

The researchers said in a statement this week that “in a year and a half, RPE sheet transplantation of tissue that can survive well, and there is no indication that the presence of immune rejection, and no unexpected adverse proliferation in order to achieve the aim of this preliminary study. ”

Last year, the patient told the “Japan Times”, “I’m glad I was able to accept this treatment. I felt my eyes become bright and expansion.”

While this does not completely restore this patient’s vision, but this study represents an important step forward in application of iPSC — Scientists believe iPSC may be used to treat many diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, not just the vision problems.

Many other studies have also reported the use of stem cell therapy to restore vision achieved good results. Earlier this year, Chinese and American scientists can improve the baby’s vision of cataract by manipulating stem cells in protein levels.

It is worth mentioning that the United States has a Baltimore blindness after five years of women extracted from her bone marrow stem cells injected into her eyes, to restore some of her vision. Although this particular method of treatment are still many problems, it is undeniable that stem cell research is a very exciting area of ​​research.