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Scientists Print Retinal Cells

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the eyeball-load-letter dept.

Medicine 41

Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC reports on research that points to the possibility of using inkjet technology to print retinal ganglion and glial cells. While the research is preliminary, it is thought to hold great promise for treating certain kinds of eye problems."

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Probably NSA funded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730357)

So that they can spy through your eyes! The ultimate achievement!

Re:Probably NSA funded! (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#45730607)

I see what you did there!

Re:Probably NSA funded! (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45731659)

You do realize that not every story has to be about the NSA, don't you?

Couldn't we have just a few without the crackpot comments?

Re:Probably NSA funded! (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 9 months ago | (#45733669)

That's exactly what the NSA would like you to think! You shill!

Re:Probably NSA funded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45736019)

You do realize that not every story has to be about the NSA, don't you?

It does to people obsessed with NSA spying.

Couldn't we have just a few without the crackpot comments?

You must be new here. Also, why do you continually defend the NSA's illegal, immoral, wasteful, and harmful to America's nefarious activities? Are you James Clapper?

Great timing! (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45730437)

Last year, in an unfortunate accident involving lasers and unexpected reflections, I burned a nice dark spot right near the center of my field of vision.

With this new technology, in only 50 years I'll be able to repair that damage!

Re:Great timing! (4, Informative)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#45730631)

And this, kiddies, is why you need to look like a dork and wear your safety glasses.

Re:Great timing! (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45730823)

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Re:Great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45731575)

Internet Memes for $200, Alex...
Answer:

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Question: What radioactive man said after purchasing his $1500 Google glass experiment?

Re:Great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45731405)

Better pick safety glasses made for the proper frequency range when messing with lasers, most likely not just any safety glasses will do.

Re:Great timing! (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45731799)

And don't buy cheap laser pointers.

Re:Great timing! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45731809)

a laser pointer did that? how?
And it's still your fault.

Re:Great timing! (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45732587)

Correctly-low visible emission, but too much infrared. I didn't notice until I tried taking a picture of my setup and realized that my CCD camera saw everything far brighter than I did. I realized a few days later that I had a new spot in my vision.

Re:Great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45732753)

It makes me wonder how safe laser pointers are when playing with cats if reflection can do that.

Re:Great timing! (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45733453)

They should be fine. While working on a mirror, its mounting slipped and I got a defective laser aimed right at my eye. I'm assuming that's when the damage happened. "Pointer" lasers are supposed to be limited to 5mW, so they can't cause damage before the blink reflex reacts. I am curious now whether cats' eyes have the same limits, though.

Re:Great timing! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 9 months ago | (#45738093)

I certainly hope you saw a retina specialist, there may have been something he could have done to negate the harmful effects. Many welders go blind in their old age from unshielded glimpses of the arc welder (I knew one such fellow).

Re:Great timing! (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 9 months ago | (#45794739)

Yeah. Take the blind guy's advice.

Re:Great timing! (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 9 months ago | (#45794749)

Maybe you should have checked those limits more closely. Class 2 are the ones that are blink-safe (if you're the trusting sort), limited to 1mW. Class 3 is 5mW, and the description of that is, to paraphrase; Hey, be careful, this shit can blind you before you can blink.

Re:Great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730719)

Truely you picked the right century to be alive in! Lucky man!!

Re:Great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45733393)

Just remember not to look at the laser with remaining eye.

This sounds like fun (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#45730439)

but will they connect to the optical nerve? And once they're printed, how do you put them in the eye?

Re:This sounds like fun (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#45730671)

The same way they do retina transplants ( which i also think is still experimental, but it does happen )

I doubt anyone alive today will get benefit from this research, but its worth while and will help generations down the road.

Re:This sounds like fun (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#45730705)

Well I hope it's a *bit* faster than that, since it looks (haha) like I'm going to get MD later in life just like my Dad. I really wish we could the body itself to grow these cells, since obviously it was able to do it once before.

They did that, too. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#45731323)

Well I hope it's a *bit* faster than that, since it looks (haha) like I'm going to get MD later in life just like my Dad.

I have the same worry. So far I'm doing OK (and taking my vitamin A) but it's still a worry.

(I also worry that, with the increasing governmental takeover of medicine, research on and deployment of new treatments will grind to a halt as a cost-cutting measure.)

I really wish we could the body itself to grow these cells, since obviously it was able to do it once before.

If you follow this link [bbc.co.uk] from TFA, you'll find that (as of last January) they've also been able to inject "precursor" cells into blind mice and get them to grow a new, fully differentiated, and possibly fully functional, retina in about two weeks.

(I presume by "precursor cells" they mean "stem cells that have been partially differentiated into pluripotent cells along the developmental path to retina tissue" or perhaps "harvested pluripotent cells from the same developmental stage".)

The new retina tissue definitely connected well enough to produce behavioral evidence of light sensitivity, though more work was needed to determine whether/how well it hooked up to the brain's image processing.

Re:They did that, too. (1)

Lord Lemur (993283) | about 9 months ago | (#45737363)

Don't worry about the government takeover of the decision to purchase medical insurance. No bussiness profits will be injured as a result.

Re:This sounds like fun (1)

GameMaster (148118) | about 9 months ago | (#45731289)

Well, first you attach them to the tip of a pointy stick...

An opthalmologist's view (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730471)

This doesn't address the biggest problem in regenerating retinal ganglion cells: the axons from individual cells have to go out the back of the eye, travel about 10cm, and synapse with the correct neuron in the thalamus. And there are over 1 million of these axons per eye.

For the EE types: 1 million wires that need to plug into the right hole, and there's no wiring diagram.

Re:An opthalmologist's view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730687)

so i take it this does not help out in cases of acute retina recrosis...

Re:An opthalmologist's view (3, Interesting)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 9 months ago | (#45730693)

Even if it gets wired somehow, the visual cortex would has to adapt to the new signal... something that doesn't normally happen in adults. Oliver Sacks wrote about one patient that had some visual impairment fixed (cataract, IIRC) after being effectively blind for 40 years. After the surgery he was overwhelmed by the unexpected (to the brain) flow of visual information, which he couldn't make sense of, and regretted the decision to have his eyes fixed.

Re:An opthalmologist's view (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45731077)

At First Sight [imdb.com]

Re:An opthalmologist's view (1)

hawkfish (8978) | about 9 months ago | (#45746981)

Even if it gets wired somehow, the visual cortex would has to adapt to the new signal... something that doesn't normally happen in adults. Oliver Sacks wrote about one patient that had some visual impairment fixed (cataract, IIRC) after being effectively blind for 40 years. After the surgery he was overwhelmed by the unexpected (to the brain) flow of visual information, which he couldn't make sense of, and regretted the decision to have his eyes fixed.

There is a difference between giving vision to someone who never had it and changing the input to a functioning visual cortex. There was some guy who did an experiment where he made "inverting glasses" that turned his visual field upside-down and it only took him a few days to get used to it. So I expect that this technique could be used effectively for folks who have damaged retinas (like the poor sod above who lost a spot of his vision due to errant lasers).

(And for another interesting story along these lines, have a look at this two-step healing [biblegateway.com] from Mark's Gospel. First Jesus healed the man's eyes, but then he had to heal his head to make it work!)

Re:An opthalmologist's view (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 9 months ago | (#45747317)

There is a difference between giving vision to someone who never had it and changing the input to a functioning visual cortex.

Yep, so far you can't give vision to someone who never had it, due to how the brain develops.

There was some guy who did an experiment where he made "inverting glasses" that turned his visual field upside-down and it only took him a few days to get used to it. So I expect that this technique could be used effectively for folks who have damaged retinas

Nopz, that experiment does not deal with the first levels of processing... locally (i.e. in the neighborhood of a photoreceptor) the signal has the same properties as before.

But I know another experiment that is closer to what you had in mind: a geneticist developed a viral therapy to introduce the genes that express the rhodopsin variant that enables UV-vision. After applying to monkeys, they indeed adapted and were able to distinguish UV radiant surfaces. But again I would argue that this didn't create a new signal, just changed the previous one (all the "wiring" that responded to red or green color) to respond to UV.

Re:An opthalmologist's view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45756027)

I also had a cataract removed from my left eye after 10 years.

I also had a massive overwhelming input to my brain. Everything was so bright and colourful, it affected my brain's ability to interpret the good sight in my right eye.

It took about a month to adjust.

Re:An opthalmologist's view (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 9 months ago | (#45731105)

For the EE types: 1 million wires that need to plug into the right hole, and there's no wiring diagram.

Documentation is for suckers.

Illuminating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730519)

"hold great promise for treating certain kinds of eye problems."

I can see that.

refills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45730777)

I wonder how much the refills cost

well you got to spend big to beat the eye scan loc (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#45731097)

well you got to spend big to beat the eye scan locks that are used in the room the stores the high cost ink.

Bladerunner (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 9 months ago | (#45732453)

"I only do eyes!"

Print new ganglion? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 9 months ago | (#45733325)

reminds me, I would like to print new balls for my dog.

We had him neutered when we first got him, but after a year of living with him, we love him so much that I'm regretting the decision. I want more puppies just like him so that when he dies, we'll have his offspring to keep us company.

Re:Print new ganglion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45733407)

If you can print new balls, why not just print the puppies and be done with it.

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