Researchers are working to create in the lab a lens more closely resembling a human eye. “The lens cells that we created in the petri dish are organized differently to those in a human eye. The next challenge is mimicking nature more perfectly,” Tiziano Barberi says. (Credit: dee_gee/Flickr)

HEALTH & MEDICINE – Posted by Emily Walker-Monash on Thursday, January 31, 2013 13:14

Eye lens cells created in a petri dish

MONASH (AUS) — Scientists are closer to growing parts of the human eye in the lab.

Researchers derived and purified lens epithelium—the embryonic tissue from which the lens of the eye develops. They say the purity of the cells paves the way for future applications in regenerative medicine. Further, they caused these precursor cells to differentiate further into lens cells, providing a platform to test new drugs on human tissue in the lab.

Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to become any cell in the human body including, skin, blood, and brain matter. Once the stem cells have begun to differentiate, the challenge for researchers is to control the process and produce only the desired, specific cells.

Using a technology known as fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), Associate Professor Tiziano Barberi and Isabella Mengarelli from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University were able to identify the precise combination of protein markers expressed in the lens epithelium that enabled them to isolate those cells from the rest of the cultures.

Read more: Futurity.org – Eye lens cells created in a petri dish.

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