Regenerative Scaffolds In the Eye

From UCSF Today, a look at yet another group working to apply regenerative medicine to age-related damage in the eye: "experiments intended to restore vision to blind rodents failed when either retinal stem cells or their first-generation descendents, called progenitors, were injected into the eye. The cells were unable to network successfully within the eye and perform their necessary roles, and they eventually died. ... cues tell cells where to go and when to increase their numbers, and help determine the specialization of progeny cells. Scientists do not know what all the cues are, or which ones are lost after early development is complete. The biomimetic scaffolds developed by Tao substitute in part for the guidance provided naturally by these cues during early development. The scaffolds hold stem cells in place and more accurately guide them as they go through the long process of developing into working photoreceptors. ... Cells delivered using Tao's scaffolds have been able to integrate into the mouse's retina and to begin developing into different cell types. The next step is to use Tao's scaffolds to try to restore vision in blind mice. Ultimately, Tao's scaffolds may lead to new treatment strategies to reverse macular degeneration and related eye diseases in humans."


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