23 September 2014

$1,000,000 for eye transplantation

The US Department of Defense has allocated a million dollars to develop an eye transplant method

Copper news

The US Department of Defense has allocated a million-dollar grant to the University of California (San Diego) School of Medicine to develop the concept of a donor eye transplant operation, Medicalexpress reports, citing a university press release (Looking Ahead: Whole Eye Transplant Under Development – VM). The project is designed for two years.

"Eye transplantation is the "holy Grail" for restoring vision," said Jeffrey Goldberg, Professor of ophthalmology, one of the grantees, in this regard. "It's on the verge of science fiction."

Experiments on genetically similar rats, previously conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, showed the fundamental possibility of such an operation, but there was no vision in the transplanted eye. The fact is that scientists have failed to restore the connection between the branched network of nerve endings of the eye with the brain through the optic nerve. This nerve contains more than a million neurons and transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Therefore, the main goal of the project is to develop effective methods to overcome this problem and demonstrate the successful germination of the nerve endings of the donor eye into the recipient's optic nerve.

Researchers from the University of California and Harvard have already developed a range of molecular techniques aimed at enhancing the process of regeneration of the optic nerve. The developers consider the most promising method to restore the ability of adult nerve cells to intensive growth, by analogy with embryonic cells, by blocking the synthesis of specific proteins.

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