KOBE – A method to generate multilayered retinal tissue from human embryonic stem cells, developed by a Japanese biological research unit and Sumitomo Chemical Co., has been published in the June 13 edition of the U.S. scientific journal Cell Stem Cell.
It is the first time multilayered retinal tissue has been developed from human ESCs. In the article, the research team at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology and Sumitomo Chemical said, “We demonstrate that an optic cup structure can form by self-organization in human ESC culture.”
The method could be applied to regenerative medicine by transplanting the tissue generated to treat conventionally incurable eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe visual impairment and blindness.
“Human ESC-derived neural retina grows into multilayered tissue containing both rods and cones, whereas cone differentiation is rare in mouse ESC culture,” the article said.
The researchers developed a method to generate a large amount of such tissue in a short period of time as well as a method that enables en bloc cryopreservation of stratified neural retina of human origin, with useful applications.
Scientist honored overseas
Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka has received this year’s Millennium Technology Prize for his discovery of a new method to produce induced pluripotent stem cells at a ceremony in Helsinki.
He shared the prize with Finland’s Linus Torvalds, 42, who developed the Linux open-source computer operating system. They will split the ?1.2 million in prize money, given by Technology Academy Finland, a foundation partially funded by the Finnish government.