Can you imagine regenerating the damaged optic nerve with gene therapy and being able to recover patients with glaucoma?

A research from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) has achieved promising results in this regard. Through gene therapy, scientists have rehabilitated damaged eye nerve fibers. The study was published recently in  Nature Communications Journal.

Learn about details on the research: methodology, results and how important it may be, in the future, to treat glaucoma.

However, results are still initial and require further tests to determine an effective therapy for humans.

 

Research

 

Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) used a gene therapy technique to stimulate, in vitro, the increase and activity of the protruding protein in the eye and optic nerve.

First, the scientists cultivated the cells in laboratory. Then, laser-injured the nerve cells (axons). Finally, they introduced the gene and followed the changes with a microscope.

The study was carried out in mice.

 

Results

 

The scientists noticed that the more the protruding protein in these cells increased in number, the greater was the retinal neuron regeneration. More than improving the protein growth, it decreased the chance of nerve cell death.

The investigation showed an almost complete “protection” of the nerve cells growing in a cell culture of one of the guinea pigs.

This protein can help healing or, at least, reducing optic nerve damage. Thus, it may assist protection against glaucoma in the future.

It is worth mentioning that further tests are needed to determine an effective treatment for humans.

 

Conclusion

 

In fact, the gene therapy study results are promising. Especially because it seemed impossible to find a way to regenerate injured optic nerve in the past.

This research gives hope, however it still requires many tests on mice, primates and humans. Only then will an effective treatment be defined to reach the population within a few years. Nevertheless, the study is still a major breakthrough against glaucoma and other diseases that affect neurons such as Alzheimer.

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