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Restoring human sight thanks to monkeys

Scientists at the Paris Vision Institute, France, have shown that an artificial retina could restore the sight of patients with eye diseases.

In collaboration with Pixium Vision, a bioelectronics company, the team at the institute (part of Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS), carried out research in macaques and patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world.

The results show that an artificial retina implanted into monkeys allows a high resolution visual perception.

The findings pave the way to move forward to clinical trials on blind patients affected by age-related macular degeneration.

“Developing therapies for macular degeneration will need studies and safety evaluations in monkeys. Although retinal organoids can be grown from human donor samples, scientists cannot generate a macula which is responsible for both central and colour vision. Only monkeys and humans have a macula and that’s the reason why there is no realistic alternative to non-human primates in this field.”

Serge Picaud, Research Director at Institut de la Vision, Paris, France


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