Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

 

Stephen Hawking

 

Algae DNA could help the blind see in upcoming trials

RATE THIS! +43
Posted in Science on 23rd Feb, 2016 09:04 PM by AlexMuller

Optogenetics is one of the greatest achievements in gene splicing over the last decade, as it has helped researchers see how the brain works in animals by making neurons react to light. For the first time, however, the technique will be tried on a human subjects to help legally blind folks see for the first time.

 

Using research developed by Wayne State University scientist Zhuo-Hua Pan, a company called RestroSense will inject a virus doped with light-sensitive algae DNA directly into a patient's eyes. So far, the only successful attempts at restoring vision in humans has come using the Argus II implant.

 
The tests are being tried on patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that kills specialized rod-and-cone photoreceptors cells in the eyes, causing permanent blindness. Rather than repairing those cells, the team will targe ganglion cells located near the nerve fiber layer. The treatment should cause the cells to make a light sensitive protein and fire signals to the brain in response to light. The technique was proven to work on blind mice, which attempted to avoid bright lights like sighted mice following the treatment.
 
Scientists hope to generate at least 100,000 light sensitive cells, which should allow for a decent level of vision. In reality, however, they have no idea how well patients will see until they try it. The technique has some limitations. The algae cells are only sensitive to the color blue, so it's expected that patients will only see in black and white. In addition, algae cells have limited light sensitivity compared to healthy retina, so researchers think patients will only see well in bright sunlight. If the technique works, the researchers could overcome the brightness problem by fitting patients with light-magnifying goggles.
 
Zhuo-Hua Pan and his colleagues figured that the eye might be an ideal place to test optogenetics in humans as far back as 2009. They're already sensitive to light and have a relatively simple structure, so it's easy to treat them with gene therapy. However, researchers have a host of other projects for optogenetics, including treating Parkinson's disease and chronic pain. For that, they'll first have to figure out what cells in the brain to target. Then, it's simply a matter of switching on lights inside your head. Researchers could start testing such therapies in as little as five years.

Tags: eyevisionDNAresearchmedicinegeneticsbiotechnology

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-02-24
+1
If this works, it can make an amazing difference to lives of so many blind people. Let's hope that this will be implemented as a future treatment! Reply


 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2017-04-30 18:12:52
    Experts Assert That AI Will Be Replacing CEOs..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-04-30 17:58:36
    Scientists think Facebook and Elon Musk are way too.....read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-04-30 17:52:58
    Non-O blood group 'linked to higher heart attack risk'..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-04-29 13:25:52
    Google Is Becoming 'A.I. First'..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-04-29 13:18:48
    SpaceX looks to break into national security launch.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Obesity is top cause of preventable life-years lost, study shows..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Light can be utilized to control gene function..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Brain stimulation restores memory during lapses, research shows..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Wax worm caterpillar will eat plastic shopping bags: New.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me