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RESEARCHERS DISCOVER STEM CELLS IN OPTIC NERVE THAT PRESERVE VISION

RESEARCHERS DISCOVER STEM CELLS IN OPTIC NERVE THAT PRESERVE VISION

Context

Researchers discover stem cells in the optic nerve that preserve vision.

Details

  • It was led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM)
  • It presents a new theory on why the most common form of glaucoma may develop.
  • It provides potential new ways to treat a leading cause of blindness in American adults.
  • It was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute (NEI)
  • Researchers found that lamina progenitor cells may be responsible for insulating the fibres immediately after they leave the eye, supporting the connections between nerve cells on the pathway to the brain.
  • It may prove to be game-changing for the treatment of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve.
  • New treatment options are desperately needed for the millions of patients whose vision is severely impacted by glaucoma.
  • The study confirmed the presence of these stem cells by using antibodies and genetically modified animals that identified the specific protein markers on neuronal stem cells.

Glaucoma

  • It is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision.
  • It is often caused by abnormally high pressure in your eye.
  • It  is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60.
  • In India, the estimated number of cases of glaucoma is 12 million, around one fifth of the global burden of glaucoma.

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