A little piece of skin (4 mm to become exact) was obtained from a 70-year-old woman’s supply and used to help enhance her reduced vision.
How does this work?
The skin cells could be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, which is really a kind of cell that may be tailored in the body into just about any kind of muscle. In this instance it had been used to create retinal tissue for the eye.
Researchers in Japan were able to coax the cells into retinal pigment epithelium. It had been subsequently developed into a super-thin sheet, that was transplanted behind the retina. Then there you have it work completed!
The procedure was actually performed by the team at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan in 2014, they wanted to check the patient’s improvement, and after 2 yrs it’s looking great. Amazingly, the transplanted cells have lasted and also the woman’s vision is believed to have somewhat enhanced.
Project leader Masayo Takahashi stated that he was glad that there have been no indications of rejection within the pilot research, and that the team will continue to forge ahead until the treatment becomes available to more patients.
The patient, who has remained anonymous, told The Japan Times: ‘I am glad I received the treatment. I feel my eyesight has brightened and widened.’
The study has shown a significant step forward in the use of pluripotent stem cells, and although it is not a full restoration, it is hoped the technology will help to treat other illnesses like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.