According to researchers, gene therapy is helping the retina to restructure itself and regain normal light responses, Interesting Engineering reports. Ultimately, the therapy has led to regained vision in mice.
A paper published in JNeurosci supports the continued development of treatments for blindness designed around saving dying cells in retinas.
Much like with the brain, the retinas of our eyes retain a remarkable ability to change, on a cellular level, throughout our lives.
The paper says the new findings “show that the adult mammalian neural retina exhibits a surprising degree of plasticity following rescue of rod photoreceptors.”
Blindness is often caused by the death of a type of cell, called rod photoreceptors, in the retina. While treatments do exist that focus on saving dying rods, it was not previously known if the retina could regrow and rebuild cells after being treated.