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Japanese discover possible blindness treatment

From Discovery Canada 11/12/01

Many people go blind because of damage to the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that picks up visual information. Cells in the retina can't regenerate and when they're damaged, the loss of vision is permanent. But now, Japanese researchers have managed to build new light-sensitive cells, by tricking other cells found in the eye.

They took cells from the iris (the coloured region of the eye) and modified them to behave like the rods and cones at the back of the eye. That process could provide a new supply of cells to be transplanted into the retina — a step they haven't yet tried.

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Date last modified February 9, 2002