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Scientists create artificial retina!

The first step toward the development of transplant-ready retinas has been taken with the announcement that an eight-layer, early stage retina has been created from human embryonic stem cells. Scientists from the University of California - Irvine announced that they had been successful in creating the early stage retina. This significant accomplishment marks the first three-dimensional tissue structure to be made from stem cells. The retina is the part of the eye which records the images a person sees and sends them via the optic nerve to the brain. This development is also significant for the millions of? Americans who suffer from retinal disease. The leading cause of blindness in people over 55 is macular degeneration and it affects more than 10 million Americans. Retinitis pigmentosa is another retinal disease which is a progressive, genetic disorder which affects around 100,000 Americans. It is now within the realm of possibility to create transplantable retinas from stem cells and aid those with retinal disease. The team of researchers is now testing the early-stage retinas in animal models and successful results will lead to human clinical trials.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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