Zebrafish study may point way to blindness cure
- By Ben Hirschler
Wed Aug 1, 2:25 AM ET
The ability of zebrafish to regenerate damaged retinas has given
scientists a clue about restoring human vision and could lead to an
experimental treatment for blindness within five years.
British researchers said on Wednesday they had successfully grown in
the laboratory a type of adult stem cell found in the eyes of both
fish and mammals that develops into neurons in the retina.
In future, these cells could be injected into the eye as a treatment
for diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes-
related blindness, according to Astrid Limb of University College
London's (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology.
Damage to the retina -- the part of the eye that sends messages to
the brain -- is responsible for most cases of sight loss.
"Our findings have enormous potential," Limb said. "It could help in
all diseases where the neurons are damaged, which is basically
nearly every disease of the eye."
Limb and her colleagues studied so-called Mueller glial cells in the
eyes of people aged from 18