According to a recent New Atlas article, researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK have used 3D nanotechnology to grow human retinal cells, a breakthrough in potential treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in developed countries. In AMD, the macula, responsible for sharp, central vision, deteriorates, causing blurriness in the central field of vision. The study used electrospinning, a process that creates a 3D nanofibrous scaffold by drawing polymer fluid through an electric field, allowing for the growth of retinal pigment epithelial cells.
The researchers coated the scaffold with an anti-inflammatory substance to enhance the growth, differentiation, and functionality of the RPE cells. This technique created a 3D environment for the cells to thrive, unlike the previously used flat surfaces. The successful growth of healthy and viable cells for up to 150 days opens the door to potential treatment for AMD. The team is now focusing on methods to transplant these cultured cells into the human eye, offering a promising avenue for treating vision conditions like AMD.