Currently, a national research project is underway that is looking into the possibility that stem cell therapy could be used as a treatment for glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of vision loss in the world.

Specifically, the research team is studying human stem cells that are made into retinal ganglion cells. Retinal ganglion cells are the neurons that are damaged by glaucoma. Researchers will transplant the cells into an animal model of glaucoma.

The team must overcome several obstacles in order for stem cell therapy to work as a treatment for glaucoma. First, the team must be able to successfully transplant the cells. Second, the transplanted cells must avoid being rejected and finally, the cells must be able to form connections in both the eye and the brain.

There is no cure for glaucoma and the vision loss it causes is irreversible. The treatment that is available right now only slows the progression of the disease by using prescription eye drops, lasers or surgery. The research team is hopeful that stem cell therapy would be able to stabilize or reverse glaucoma.



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