Blindness Incurable? I Think...Not So Much Anymore!

How far has science brought us is a question whose answer keeps changing every moment. The very minute that I am writing these lines perhaps another miracle discovery is taking place: maybe it will be a cure for AIDS, or maybe a chemotherapy drug that targets cancer cells with 100% efficacy. Maybe someone is working towards creating a new organism or probably someone would finally be able to tame human stem cells so that they can cure things that are still considered incurable. Though these ideas seem extremely farfetched to some of us some scientists are working towards making one of these ideas a reality. It seems the cure of blindness is not far away. An article published in the Stem Cell Reports by the International Society for Stem cell research has brought to light something unbelievable, the first steps towards treating blindness caused due to dysfunctional retinal pigment epithelium(RPE) have been successful.

As you will read in this article, blindness caused by RPE dysfunction affects more than 200 million people in the world. Scientists have found a way of using retinal stem cells obtained from the eyes of cadaver adults to restore a healthy population of the RPE in monkeys(the RPE was grown from the retinal stem cells and then transplanted). The RPE cells that were transplanted into the retinas of monkeys integrated themselves safely, exhibiting for the first time that this line of treatment might be safe and achievable. Though there is still a long way to go, this success is becoming a ray of immense hope for the scientists and all the people who suffer from the disease.


Original article:

Published Paper:

DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2020.12.007

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