Eye cells grown at Johns Hopkins may lead to a cure for some forms of blindness

by: Carrie Wells- Contact Reporter –The Baltimore Sun
Dr’s. Donald Zack and Valentin Sluch spent 30 anxious days waiting for their experiment to yield results.
They were eager to see if the retinal ganglion cells growing in their lab would turn red, indicating that they’d successfully edited the cells’ DNA. Turning the eye cells red would allow them to be sorted from other cells and potentially provide the key to research that one day could lead to a cure for blindness caused by glaucoma or multiple sclerosis.
“I was checking every day,” Sluch said. “When I first saw red cells in the cultures, I was really excited and I ran to get a colleague to tell them that it worked.”
The breakthrough of growing eye cells in a lab, developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers, will also allow them to better understand the diseases and develop better drug therapies. Hopkins is already testing drug therapies through a five-year partnership with German pharmaceutical company Bayer that began earlier this year. Existing drug therapies work by reducing the pressure in the eye, which slows the progression of blindness.

“If you talk to patients and they rate what they’re most scared of, obviously it’s cancer and dying, but vision always comes out as one of the things that people are afraid of losing and really value,” said Zack, a professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who lead the study growing eye cells. “It would really change their lives.”……..
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-reversing-blindness-20151220-story.html
Source: Baltimore Sun