Animal Stem Cell Research
"Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, it's a disorder that is characterized by an enzyme that doesn't break down something inside a cell," explained MU Associate Professor of Biology, Joel Maruniak. "So, it accumulates there. That accumulation causes toxic damage to the cell."
So, MU researchers hope to find a way to fight that disorder by using mouse embryonic stem cells.
"What we've been doing is using the eyes as a model itself to look at the response of the central nervous system to stem cell therapy," said Mark Kirk, project director." And what we found is that these stem cells led to an enhanced survival of cells within the retina that would normally have died."
Researchers use a syringe to insert embryonic stem cells into a mouse's eye, then wait.
"What it's done is shown a lot of people in the scientific community that it's a viable technique for reversing particularly retinal damage, damage to the eye," added Maruniak. "But, [it's] also a good technique for maybe reversing some neural degenerative disease processes."
Researchers hope stem cell therapy, combined with these blind mice, will shed some light on the disorder and eventually lead to an eye-opening cure. There's also less controversy surrounding animal stem cell research, which is legal.