Nanoparticle-based injection to retina restores vision to blind rats

July 10, 2020

Many instances of age-related vision loss is related to degradation of the retina – an impressive way to restore retinal function, without using electrodes or implants, is by injecting specifically-engineered nanoparticles to create a working artificial retina. A single injection of nanoparticles by scientists at the University of Granada (UGR), Spain, was able to restore vision to blind rats for at least 8 months without the need for invasive surgery.

UGR scientists developedconjugated polymer nanoparticles (P3HT-NP) to serve as light-sensitive conduits to retinal neurons andcan potentially spread broadly across the sub-retinal space to restore lost vision.These were used on a rodent model of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition causing gradual vision loss.

The scientists noticed visual cortex activity and visual acuity return to levels similar to animals with healthy vision after just one sub-retinal injection of the experimental nanoparticles.

“In the model we studied, the nanoparticles stimulated the light-dependent activation of the intact internal retinal neurons and recovered visual responses with no inflammation of the retina,” said scientist Mattia Bramini. “Given that they achieved light sensitivity following a single injection, and with the potential for high spatial resolution, nanoparticles provide a new way forward in retinal prosthesis implantation, with potential applications not only in the case of retinitis pigmentosa but also in age-related macular degeneration.”

At this stage (animal experiments), the nanoparticles were shown to be safe and effective at restoring all signs of vision for at least eight months. Plus, the simple and relatively non-invasive, procedure means it would be easier to broadly deploy compared to other artificial retina technologies to treat degenerative blindness.


Category: Education, Features

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