Mice injected with a molecule developed by neuroscientists at the University of California at Berkeley were able to react to light. The researchers are hopeful that patients injected with the molecule would be able to be fitted with smart goggles which would then be able to interpret the surroundings into a photo simulation. The molecule works by opening the backed-up ion channels in the retina and then it completes the electrical circuit to the cellular layers of the retina beyond the dead rods and cones, which then allows these layers to "sense" light. At this point, the drug only lasts for about one week. One huge benefit of the molecule is that it only works on diseased rods and cones and will leave healthy rods and cones untouched. This hopefully indicates that there will be no side effects on the rest of the retina. Preclinical testing is the next step and if all goes well, then hopefully the drug will go to the FDA within three years.
Molecule enables blind mice to see the light
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 26 June, 2014