New step toward regenerating damaged eye cells

University of Washington School of Medicine researchers are taking a major step in their quest to regenerate damaged retinal cells, testing their method on human cells for the first time.

“When people lose their vision from something like macular degeneration, there's no way to get it back right now. We're studying ways to restore that vision, to replace those cells, by stimulating a kind of endogenous stem cell within the retina,” said Tom Reh, a professor of biological structure whose lab is conducting the research. “I think we've now been able to get to a point where we can go from having essentially just a retina that's degenerated to something that's starting to fix itself again.”

The team hopes that regenerating retinal cells can one day reverse damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases, including glaucoma, for patients. Read more about their approach in our news release.

“If we find we can make the human glia do the same thing as the mice, then we have a pretty clear path for how we're going to we're going to apply this to people and to patients,” said Reh.

Download broadcast-ready soundbites on the effort to regenerate damaged retinal cells.

UW Medicine