by Dan Roberts
Research in vision restoration has taken another step forward with the discovery of human retinal stem cells that have the ability to regenerate themselves. The announcement was made in October 2004 to the National Academy of Sciences by Derek Van der Kooy from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.
Stem cells from donated human retinas were cultured in the laboratory, and then transplanted into the healthy retinas of young mice. After four weeks, most of the cells had migrated to the photoreceptor layer of the new retinas and successfully differentiated themselves into the cells necessary for sight. The next step in the research is to see if the cells will be able to perform as well in diseased eyes.