Monday, June 14, 2010

#Frankenstein #Retina Fabricated from #Embryonic #Stem #Cells

Frankenstein--the fable--was fabricated from cast off human body parts, refashioned into living tissues--a dream recently realized with a living retina made from stem cells that could restore sight for up to 10 million Americans. Look for man-made living replacement parts made from embryonic stem cells within 10 years. R.C.J.

Scientists have created the world's first human retina from embryonic stem cells, holding out the promise of restoring sight to millions of blind patients with transplant-ready living retinas. Much has been made about artificial retinas restoring sight to the blind by establishing wireless communications between an eye-glasses-mounted video camera and semiconductors implanted inside a patient's eye. However, all those efforts could become obsolete before they get started as a result of researchers who recently created a new living retina out of embryonic stem cells. University of California at Irvine (UCI) scientists recently revealed that they had successfully created a living retina aimed at curing blindness caused by the same maladies that the electronic implants are being designed to cure—retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration—but without inserting semiconductors inside the eye. Still in the experimental stages, these new living retinas could restore sight to 10 million Americans. The living retina was constructed by painstakingly assembling eight layers of embryonic stem cells into a three-dimensional tissue structure remarkably similar to the architecture of natural retinas...
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