Totally Blind Mice Regain Sight After Chemical Injection

Totally Blind Mice Regain Sight After Chemical InjectionTotally blind mice have had their sight restored by injections of light-sensing cells into the eye, UK researchers report.

‘First proof’

The research team, at the University of Oxford, used mice with a complete lack of light-sensing photoreceptor cells in their retinas. The mice were unable to tell the difference between light and dark. They injected “precursor” cells which will develop into the building blocks of a retina once inside the eye. Two weeks after the injections a retina had formed, according to the findings presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Prof Robert MacLaren said: “We have recreated the whole structure, basically it’s the first proof that you can take a completely blind mouse, put the cells in and reconstruct the entire light-sensitive layer.”

‘Safe but reliable’

Previous studies have achieved similar results with mice that had a partially degenerated retina. Prof MacLaren said this was like “restoring a whole computer screen rather than repairing individual pixels”. Prof Robin Ali published research in the journal Nature showing that transplanting cells could restore vision in night-blind mice and then showed the same technique worked in a range of mice with degenerated retinas.

He said: “These papers demonstrate that it is possible to transplant photoreceptor cells into a range of mice even with a severe level of degeneration… I think it’s great that another group is showing the utility of photoreceptor transplantation.”

Researchers are already trialling human embryonic stem cells, at Moorfields Eye Hospital, in patients with Stargardt’s disease. Early results suggest the technique is safe but reliable results will take several years. Retinal chips or bionic eyes are also being trailed in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

Do you think this study will ultimately lead to a cure for blindness? Share your thoughts and opinions below!

Source: James Gallagher, BBC News

Image: Spiked Nation

University of Oxford Gets Rejected by Student

A student has sent a rejection letter to the University of Oxford following her interview for a place there. Elly Nowell parodied the institution’s own rejection letters, stating Magdalen College “did not quite meet the standard” of other universities.

Ms Nowell, 19, from Winchester, Hampshire, told the BBC the interview left her feeling like “the only atheist in a gigantic monastery”. A university spokesman said it received only a few complaints from applicants.

Ms Nowell’s letter began: “I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”

Should the university wish to “reapply”, her letter points out, “while you may believe your decision to hold interviews in grand formal settings is inspiring, it allows public school applicants to flourish… and intimidates state school applicants, distorting the academic potential of both”. She also criticised Magdalen College’s “traditions and rituals”, and the gap between a number of  “minorities and white middle class students”.

Ms Nowell admitted that her email was not meant to be taken 100% as a big deal.


Source: BBC News

Image: Mail Online