Restore aged eye cells and revitalize the retina: A new study has made it possible to safely reprogram complex tissues, just like nerve cells in the eye, even in the presence of glaucoma. A study that gives hope to fight aging and eye diseases.
They are the scientists of the Harvard Medical School (USA), which they literally have in a study published in Nature brought back the hands of the eye cells and rejuvenated the retina and restored its functions thanks to gene therapy.
Not a bionic eye, as other studies suggest, and not even a retinal transplant, but the restoration of the original retina.
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in humans and gradually affects the optic nerve with a reduction in the field of vision to total loss of vision. Today science tells us this path can be other way around (not just stopped), which gives hope to many people who suffer from these and other eye diseases.
“Our study shows that it is possible to safely reverse the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore its youthful biological function. – explains David Sinclair, who led the study – If confirmed with further studies, these could be results determinative of the treatment of age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma and in general for biology and medical therapy”.
By means of specific tools the team used three genes that restore youth, known as Oct4, Sox2 and Klf4 (along with a fourth not covered by the work are collectively referred to as Yamanaka factors), normally activated during embryonic development.
Over time, the treatment promoted regeneration of damaged optic nerves and virtually reversed vision loss.
Moreover, the applied gene therapy is based on a new theory of why we age, which itself is central DNA methylation: cells only need to read genes specific to their type to perform specialized tasks and this regulatory function is the responsibility of the epigenome, which, however, changes over time, especially by accidentally binding methyl groups to itself and thus the cells to read the wrong genes.
It is still unclear whether DNA methylation leads to age-related changes in cells. But in this study, assuming just this, the researchers ‘erased’ some of the footprints of this phenomenon, verifying that this technique could actually rejuvenate the cells of living organisms, thus back the biological clock.
“This novel approach, which successfully reverses multiple causes of vision loss without the need for a retinal transplant, represents a new treatment method in regenerative medicine.The scholars conclude.
Fonti: Harvard Medical School / Nature
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