[GRG] Regenerative Med: 3-D human retinal tissue from human stem cells


Light-Sensitive Retina Cells in Dish Created with Human Stem Cells

Scientists at Johns Hopkins say they have used a type of human stem
cell to create a three-dimensional complement of human retinal
tissue in the laboratory, which reportedly includes functioning
photoreceptor cells capable of responding to light. This represents
the first step in the process of converting light into visual

“We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that
not only has the architectural organization of the retina but also
has the ability to sense light,” said study leader M. Valeria Canto-
Soler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine. She says the work
(“Generation of three-dimensional retinal tissue with functional
photoreceptors from human iPSCs”), reported online in Nature
Communications, “advances opportunities for vision-saving research
and may ultimately lead to technologies that restore vision in
people with retinal diseases.”

Like many processes in the body, vision depends on many different
types of cells working in concert, in this case to turn light into
something that can be recognized by the brain as an image.

Dr. Canto-Soler noted that photoreceptors are only part of the
story in the complex eye-brain process of vision, and her lab
hasn’t yet recreated all of the functions of the human eye and its
links to the visual cortex of the brain. “Is our lab retina capable
of producing a visual signal that the brain can interpret into an
image? Probably not, but this is a good start,” she said.

The achievement emerged from experiments with human induced
pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) and could, eventually, enable
genetically engineered retinal cell transplants that halt or even
reverse a patient’s march toward blindness, the researchers pointed

The hiPSC cells are adult cells that have been genetically
reprogrammed to their most primitive state. Under the right
circumstances, they can develop into most or all of the 200 cell
types in the human body. In this case, the Johns Hopkins team
turned them into retinal progenitor cells destined to form light-
sensitive retinal tissue that lines the back of the eye.

Using a simple, straightforward technique they developed to foster
the growth of the retinal progenitors, Dr. Canto-Soler and her team
saw retinal cells and then tissue grow in their petri dishes,
explained Xiufeng Zhong, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Dr.
Canto-Soler’s lab. The growth, she said, corresponded in timing and
duration to retinal development in a human fetus in the womb.

“We report that hiPSC can, in a highly autonomous manner,
recapitulate spatiotemporally each of the main steps of retinal
development observed in vivo and form three-dimensional retinal
cups that contain all major retinal cell types arranged in their
proper layers,” wrote the investigators. “Moreover, the
photoreceptors in our hiPSC-derived retinal tissue achieve advanced
maturation, showing the beginning of outer-segment disc formation
and photosensitivity. This success brings us one step closer to the
anticipated use of hiPSC for disease modeling and open
possibilities for future therapies.”


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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