Biologists Learn to Produce Retinal Cells for the Treatment of Blindness

Researchers at the Carolina Institute and St. Eric's Hospital in Sweden have discovered a way to produce cells

retina from embryonic stem cells. So they plan to treat blindness in the elderly. Using CRISPR / Cas9 gene editing, they were able to modify the cells so that they did not cause rejection. Their results are published in the magazines Nature Communications and Stem Cell Reports.

Macular degeneration is the most commonthe cause of blindness in the elderly. Loss of vision is caused by the death of photoreceptors due to degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE cells) that provide them with nutrition. Now scientists are planning to transplant new RPE cells formed from embryonic stem cells.

In the Netherlands, adapted Google Glass for the visually impaired

One of the obstacles to tissue transplantation,derived from stem cells, there is a risk of rejection. Therefore, scientists around the world are working on the creation of universal cells that will not elicit an immune response.

At the Carolina Institute, they created embryonicstem cells that can "hide" from the immune system. Using CRISPR / Cas9 gene editing, they removed HLA molecules that are located on the cell surface. It is through them that the immune system understands whether cells have occurred from within the body or have been introduced from the outside. Stem cells in which these molecules were absent were not rejected.

Researchers were able to show that modified RPE cells retain their functions and that no harmful mutations occur with them.