Scientists from Cardiff University have managed to restore sight in blind rabbits using stem cells. The experiment involved generating several key types of eye tissue from human stem cells in a way that mirrors development of the whole eye. This could pave the way for human clinical trials of front of the eye transplantation to restore lost or damaged vision.
The findings were published in the science journal Nature on Wednesday.
When the tissues were transplanted on to the rabbits, they were able to repair the front of the eye and restore vision. Previous studies demonstrated particular cell types – such as those that constitute the retina or cornea – can be created in the laboratory from pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to become any type of cell, but had not focused on the complexity of whole eye development.