A group of biologists from Osaka University, led by Koji Nishida, have found a method of growing individual fragments of a human eyeball from a piece of skin. Based on these results, scientists will be able to produce the retina, cornea and lens of the eye.
In the course of experiments, with the help of new technology, it was possible to restore vision to a rabbit that was blind from birth, which had no cornea. Everything is already ready for the start of real trials on patients. According to Nishida, in the next three years it will be possible to carry out operations to restore the damaged cornea.
The new project of Japanese scientists is a continuation of the work begun back in 2005, when it came to the understanding that they can get stem cells from the most common blood cells or skin, using some manipulation of DNA. Six years later, two researchers, Shinya Yamanaka and John Gardon, were awarded the Nobel Prize for this. The created biomaterial is called "induced pluripotent stem cells" or iPS.
Koji Nishida and his colleagues were able to stimulate the participation of pluripotent cells in the formation of the so-called proto-eye, from which individual tissues can then be extracted. The cells were grown in a Petri dish, where the correct combination of proteins and other substances was used as their base.
Basically, the proto-eye is made up of four rings of different types of cells, which are then transformed into different parts of the eye.