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Zebrafish study may point way to blindness cure

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  • gildacabral
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2007
      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
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