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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Three-dimensional light-sensitive retinal tissue grown in lab

•, By David Szondy
This means that, unlike simpler organs, studies of retinal disease rely heavily on animal studies, and treating such illnesses is extremely difficult. One ray of hope in the field comes from researchers at John Hopkins, who have constructed a functioning segment of a human retina out of stem cells that is able to respond to light.

The retina is the complex lining of the human eye that acts like the the film (or the imaging sensor, for the younger crowd) in a camera. It's made of some 10 layers of tissue, including structural membranes, nerve ganglia, and photoreceptor cells; the rods that detect black and white images and work best in low light, and the cones, which detect color. If scientists could recreate this structure in the laboratory, it would be a major breakthrough in treating eye diseases.

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