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First light sensitive photoreceptors created in vitro using induced pluripotent stem cells

Research, led by US scientists from the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, has demonstrated for the first time that functioning photoreceptors, generated from stem cells in a laboratory dish, are capable of responding to light. The research, led by Prof. Maria Valeria Canto-Soler of John Hopkins and published in Nature Communications, describes details of how human induced pluripotent stem cells (“hiPSCs”) are capable of developing into a miniature human retina in the lab with the structural organisation of a natural retina, including the ability to detect and respond to light impulses. The achievement is expected to advance the development of both tools and potential therapeutic agents for research and treatment of a variety of retinal disorders.