Cells from eyes of dead ‘may give sight to blind’

Tests in rats, reported in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, showed the human cells could restore some vision to completely blind rats. The team at University College London said similar results in humans would improve quality of life, but would not give enough vision to read.
Human trials should begin within three years. Donated corneas are already used to improve some people’s sight, but the team at the Institute for Ophthalmology, at UCL, extracted a special kind of cell from the back of the eye.
These Muller glia cells are a type of adult stem cell capable of transforming into the specialised cells in the back of the eye and may be useful for treating a wide range of sight disorders.
In the laboratory, these cells were chemically charmed into becoming rod cells which detect light in the retina.
Injecting the rods into the backs of the eyes of completely blind rats partially restored their vision.
Brain scans showed that 50% of the electrical signals between the eye and the brain were recovered by the treatment.