Researchers grow stem cells to cure glaucoma


MIPT and Harvard researchers grow stem cells to cure glaucoma Stem cells on the retinal surface by two weeks post-transplantation. Credit: Molecular Treatment-Approaches

and Scientific Advancement A joint research effort performed by MIPT scientists and Harvard researchers has yielded retinal cells that can incorporate into the retina. This is the first successful effort to transplant ganglion cells (retinal neurons that are ruined by glaucoma) stemmed from stem cells in a laboratory setting. Scientists tested the innovation in mice and established that the cells effectively integrated and survived for a year. In the future, the researchers plan to produce customized cell banks, which will permit specific, customized treatment for each client.

The world’s very first effective attempt to grow and transplant retinal ganglion cells established from stem cells was made by researchers from MIPT’s genomic engineering laboratory in cooperation with researchers from Harvard Medical School. Retinal ganglion cells, commonly damaged in glaucoma, are accountable for the transmission of visual details. The researchers managed to not just grow nerve cells (retinal ganglion cells are thought about specific neurons), however likewise transplant them into the eyes of mice, achieving the appropriate ingrowth of synthetic retinal tissue. Without treatment, glaucoma can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and, as an outcome, the loss of part of the visual field. Progression of this disease can result in finish loss of sight.

Retinal cells were grown using special organoids, with the tissue formed in a petri dish, according to Evgenii Kegeles, a junior researcher from MIPT’s genomic engineering lab. These cells were subsequently transplanted into numerous groups of mice. The MIPT researchers were responsible for re-isolating and evaluating the transplanted cells.

“Our studies in mice have shed light on some of the basic questions surrounding retina cell replacement, i.e. can donor RGCs endure within diseased host retinas? Or are transplants only possible within young hosts?”, kept in mind Julia Oswald, the first author of the paper and a research fellow from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School affiliate. “Utilizing mice in which we used microbeads to artificially elevate intraocular pressure and a design of chemically caused neurotoxicity, we could reveal that transplanted donor cells survive in disease-like microenvironments. In addition, we might demonstrate that cells survived independent of the donor’s age and the area to which the cells were provided within the retina.”

According to the authors, these cells have effectively existed inside mouse retinas for 12 months, which is a substantial duration for the types. Scientists confirmed that they had the ability to get signals from other neurons in the retina; however, the ability of the cells to transfer signals to the brain has yet to be assessed with outright certainty.

“We are confident that the grown cells are embedded where necessary and have extended axons into the brain, however their complete functionality is presently impossible to assess, due to the fairly low variety of cells enduring the treatment. However, our study reveals a very first proof-of-concept for the re-isolation of donor cells post-transplant, to observe on a molecular level that cells did, undoubtedly, type synapses, grow axons, and incorporate into the retina. This method will enable numerous future research studies into the cross talk between transplanted cells and the host microenvironment. This will permit us to discover and use molecular mechanisms which will help transplanted cells to work correctly and, as a result, improve visual function when transplanted in the right amount,” described Evgenii Kegeles.

Mouse retinal cells can be grown from stem cells in around 21 days. Nevertheless, according to the scientists at MIPT, it will take longer for human cells– from 50 to 100 days.

However, an individual with glaucoma getting ready for a transplant will probably not need retinal tissue grown from their own autologous stem cells. Considering that the eye is an immune-privileged organ where rejection is uncommon, it is possible to produce a cell bank for these clients; grown retinal cells from a universal donor or induced pluripotent stem cells would be kept there. This would indicate that it would be possible to grow cells beforehand and freeze them. When a client with glaucoma needs assistance, the most suitable cells would be picked for transplantation.

“The Nobel Prize for induced pluripotent stem cells was awarded almost ten years back, in 2012,” said Pavel Volchkov, head of the lab of genomic engineering. “The so-called buzz, when actually all of the research study teams involved in the process considered it their duty to check out the topic, has long disappeared. Now is the time not simply for words, however for genuine innovations based on iPS (caused pluripotent stem cells). And it is specifically this technology that this research on the transplantation of retinal ganglion cells is based upon. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that stem cells can really be used in practice, that, with their help, something can be fixed. Although this work has actually not yet been given medical practice, it is just a few actions away from a genuine transplant for the function of treating glaucoma.”

“It was undoubtedly an enabling study in which we showed that it is possible to make diverse retinal ganglion cell neurons in amount sufficient for transplantation. Additionally, donor nerve cells’ ability to incorporate into the unhealthy retina and survive for over a year brings hope and enjoyment for cell therapy development,” added Petr Baranov, the Principal Detective from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School.

According to researchers, this innovation is around ten years from being prepared for usage in scientific practice.

A rift in the retina may help fix the optic nerve More details: Julia Oswald et al, Transplantation of miPSC/mESC-derived retinal ganglion cells into healthy and glaucomatous retinas, Molecular Treatment – Techniques & Medical Advancement (2021 ). DOI: 10.1016/ j.omtm.2021.03.004 Provided by Moscow Institute of Physics and Innovation

Citation: Researchers grow stem cells to treat glaucoma (2021, April 19) obtained 20 April 2021 from

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