Japanese scientists have managed to grow a mouse's eye from stem cells. They believe they are getting closer to growing a human eye and hope it will lead to treatments for human blindness. So far scientists had never created such a complex biological structure largely because they could not develop the optic cup.
But now scientists at the Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan have induced embryonic mouse stem cells to spontaneously form the optic cup in a dish. The key ingredient was a mixture of jellylike proteins (Matrigel). The stem cells prefer to lie on this bed before turning into the eye's various structures. Scientists are looking forward to do the same work with human embryonic stem cells as there is a lot of developmental similarity between the mouse and man.
AdvertisementThe team has not yet grown an entire eyeball in a dish. But their work so far shows that it is possible to grow specific eye structures, like retinas, from stem cells so that they could be used in therapy. The new research is being published today in the journal Nature.