According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 36 million people in the world today are blind, while more than 200 million people have moderate to severe visual impairment.
Retinal degenerative diseases are a heterogeneous collection of pathologies that affect the eyesight, some of which can cause blindness. If they result in impairment or blindness, the light-sensitive cells – cones and rods – cease to function. However, in some of these diseases, the neural circuits that send information to the brain remain intact.
Two innovative projects propose ways of acting on the retina to attempt to reverse blindness in the future.
Dr Maria Pia Cosma leads research into cell therapy aimed at regenerating retinal neurons and restore vision. The project objective is to recreate the retina from the patient's own stem cells in order to test new photoreceptor regeneration therapies and reverse blindness in these people.
The aim of the project led by Dr José Antonio Garrido is to develop a new generation of retinal prostheses to restore visual acuity artificially through electrical stimuli. The challenge is to implement thousands of micrometre-scale graphene electrodes in the retina in blind people.
The researchers leading these two projects will describe how they are developing and the key challenges in this field today.
Maria Pia Cosma, ICREA Research Professor and Senior group leader of the CRG Reprogramming and Regeneration Group.
José Antonio Garrido, ICREA Research Professor, Vice director ICN2 and leader of the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group.
Nuria Ramírez de Castro, editor-in-Chief of ABC's Society section.
CaixaResearch supported projects: