Renewing obsolete eye cells and revitalizing the retina: A new study has made it possible to safely reprogram complex tissues, just like eye cells, even in the presence of glaucoma. A study that gives hope to fight aging and eye diseases.
They are Harvard Medical School (USA), which in a naturally published study they literally have brought eye cell clock readings and regenerated the retina by restoring its functions through gene therapy.
Therefore, there is no bionic eye, as suggested by other studies, and not even retinal transplantation, but the restoration of the original retina.
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in humans, gradually affecting the optic nerve, reducing the field of vision to complete loss of vision. Today, science tells us that this path can be inverted (not just stopped), giving hope to many people suffering from this and other eye diseases.
“Our study shows that it is possible to safely change the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore the biological function of its youth – explains David Sinkler, lead researcher – If confirmed by further studies, these results could be crucial in the treatment of age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma and biology and medical therapy in general”.
Using special tools, the team used three genes that restore youth, known as Oct4, Sox2, and Klf4 (together with the fourth, which is not covered by the work, are collectively referred to as Yamanaka factors), are usually activated during embryonic development.
Over time, the treatment promoted the regeneration of the damaged optic nerves and virtually prevented the loss of vision.
In addition, the gene therapy used is based on a new theory of why we are aging, which in itself focuses on DNA methylationTo perform specialized tasks, cells only need to read their type-specific genes, and this regulatory function is responsible for the epigenome, which, however, changes over time, especially by mistakenly associating methyl groups with itself and thus causing cells to read the wrong genes.
It is still unclear whether DNA methylation results in age-related changes in cells. But in this study, the researchers, assuming only that, have “erased” some traces of this phenomenon, making sure that this technique can indeed restore the cells of living organisms, thus back to the biological clock.
“This new approach, which successfully eliminates several causes of vision loss without the need for retinal transplantation, is a new method of regenerative medicine treatment.“, Conclude the scientists.
Fonts: Harvard Medical School / Nature
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