"We believe that near-infrared stimulation is an important step towards providing useful vision to blind patients so that they can regain their ability to read or see faces", says Daniel Hillier, head of the junior research group Visual Circuits and Repair at DPZ, and adds: "We want to give hope to blind people with these findings and will further intensify our research activities in this area here at DPZ within our main project, which focuses on the restoration of vision."
"The findings of this study are largely consistent with previous reports on SARM1 both in retinal research and elsewhere, and firmly indicate that inhibiting SARM1 activity within the retina will help to preserve rod and cone photoreceptor cell integrity. Delaying the rate of cell death will also provide more opportunities for successful treatment intervention, either as pharmacological or gene therapy, both of which are described as promising areas for research by the investigators."
"A Phase I/II assessment of a very small group of sufferers of a blindness-causing disease called retinitis pigmentosa saw a significant improvement in vision after treatment."
"Photoreceptor degeneration is a major cause of blindness. Microglia are known to play key roles in the pathogenesis and progression of neural degeneration. We examined the possible use of apigenin, which is a naturally occurring flavonoid, for the treatment of photoreceptor degeneration through regulation of microglial activities...Taken together, local administration of apigenin to the retina is a potential therapeutic treatment for photoreceptor degeneration, which involves downregulation of microglia in the retina when photoreceptors are damaged."
"The eye, as detailed in a paper published in the prestigious journal Nature today, is in essence a three dimensional artificial retina that features a highly dense array of extremely light-sensitive nanowires."
"Cell therapy generally uses cells obtained from induced pluripotent stem cells (or iPS cells), which have the ability to differentiate and become almost any cell type in our body. Once programmed to become photoreceptor cells, they are transplanted into the retina of a retinal degeneration animal model to study their function and ability to restore vision. This process is cumbersome and time-consuming, and can take about six months.
"In a study published April 15 in Nature, researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and the National Eye Institute (NEI) have shown, for the first time, that it is possible to reprogram fibroblasts (a type of skin cell) directly into photoreceptors, bypassing the requirement for pluripotent stem cells. The technique allows obtaining, in just 10 days, functional photoreceptor cells ready for transplantation. Direct reprogramming had previously been applied to generate neurons, astrocytes, and cardiomyocytes, but it had not been successful before for obtaining photoreceptors."
Scientists from the US and Hong Kong have developed a synthetic eye that functions a lot like the real thing. With sensors that mimic the photoreceptors found in a human eye, the new “bionic” prototype could one day be used to restore vision in individuals that have lost their sight.
Referred to as a “biomimetic eye” by the research team, the device is a marriage of modern technology and nature’s own designs. It consists of a hemispherical artificial retina and an array of sensors that capture and relay a live image. Getting it to interface with a human brain is, well, pretty complicated.
"New findings presented on ARVOLearn showed that an optogenetic gene therapy was well tolerated in a group of patients with end-stage non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa... Treatment of the first patient in the higher dose group is planned for quarter 2 of 2020."
"Through more than 20 to 30 times of therapy, the vision of 15.38% eyes increased more than "3 lines", 4% eyes increased more than 5 degrees in the visual field, 13.46% eyes improved in dark adaptation threshold (greater than 1.0), the visual functions of the rest eyes were slightly improved or unimproved."
"Researchers led by Dr. Sai Chavala at CIRC Therapeutics, Inc., Texas Christian University, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center set out to directly reprogram skin cells into photoreceptors, eliminating the need for stem cells. The study was funded in part by NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI) and also involved NEI investigators. Findings were published in Nature on April 15, 2020."