Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute were successful in regenerating large areas of damaged retinas by cells that are derived from skin cells. These cells are called iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells).
This new technology can be very helpful for patients with retina diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy.
In Japan, 2006 researchers used a set of four transcription factors to produce iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) from skin cells.
These cells can act like embryonic stem cells in which they can convert into any type of cell in the body.
They used skin cells from the tails of red fluorescent mice and force these cells to express the four transcription factors to generate red fluorescent IPSCs. These cells were processed with certain chemical materials in order to produce immature photoreceptor cells which are called precursors of retinal cells.
The Electroretinogram (ERG) was used to measure electrical activity of the damaged retina in mice with retina related diseases. No electrical activity was shown.
These immature photoreceptor cells were transplanted into these mice and after 6 weeks the ERG showed electrical activity of the retina which means that a new healthy retina was formed from these cells.