Now You Don’t See it- Now You Do
Author: Sarah Hoffman
“Boston researchers have successfully regrown human corneal tissue – a feat that could potentially restore vision in the blind.
The achievement also marks one of the first times that scientists have constructed tissue using adult-derived human stem cells.-‘Researchers Regrow Corneas Using Adult Human Stem Cells’. FoxNews.com
Researchers recently made great strides in the field of regrowing human tissue– this time regrowing a human cornea using adult stem cells. This is an amazing feat. They discovered that not only is it possible to regrow a cornea using cells from the functioning eye of someone who is blind in only one eye, but they can also transplant cells from a donor and regrow that way. They tested all this on mice, but used human adult stem cells. This is pretty darn cool.
And why is this possible now? Well the original hold up was their inability to harvest a specific molecule called ABCB5, which is necessary when growing corneal tissue. These researchers discovered that a high concentration of these molecules can be found in the eyes limbus (basically the white part of your eye), which in hindsight makes perfect sense. Unfortunately these cells die when the eye goes blind, but people suffering from blindness have one good eye full of these little miracle-workers. And those with blindness in both eyes can receive a transplant, though they may need immune-suppression.
These leaves only one obvious question to be answered– do these mice see as mice see? Or do they now see as us humans do? Philosophical input is welcome…