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Ruska Buttond: They laughed at me when I said I would implant algae genes into human eyes

Ruska Buttond: They laughed at me when I said I would implant algae genes into human eyes

What is the relationship between algae and the treatment of blindness? – says Ruska Buttond.

“Everyone laughed when I said I was going to put algae genes in people's eyes.” – said Roska Butund, external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, during her lecture. The Hungarian professor living in Switzerland summarized the results of research over the past 20 years.

The importance of visual information in people's lives has increased significantly in recent decades, and it is expected that this trend will not change in the future. At the same time, the number of myopic diseases that lead to retinal detachment and cause long-term blindness is also increasing around the world.

The retina is only a very small part of the eye, yet it is responsible for diseases that lead to blindness; According to Rosca Buttond, understanding how it works is crucial – for prevention and even treatment.

Ruska and his fellow researchers had a breakthrough in the early 2000s, when they realized that layers of retinal cells produce about thirty different “video clips” that emphasize different elements of what is seen, and that the image of the outside world in the brain is made up of these neural films. Understanding this biological computer was the research professor's primary goal, which led him in a new direction by investigating the sensitivity of algae to light.

Ruska Butund then took the gene that causes photosensitivity in algae as the basis of her research, with its help she aimed to reverse vision loss.

By 2008, he and his research team had developed a procedure in which they were able to introduce the light-sensitive protein into bipolar cells in a targeted manner. Ruska Buttond In his inaugural lecture The effectiveness of the method was demonstrated through a video of two patients. The first patient had never seen anything other than the perception of light sources, while the second patient was completely blind and could not even see light before treatment.

The success of this method was amazing: the patients pointed directly to the objects placed in front of them, and were able to count them without touching them. You can see all this In recording the lecture.

The neurobiologist also drew attention to the fact that although the retinas of vertebrates are very similar to each other, different and diverse types of cells are created, creating a special structure in primates that is not found in other vertebrates. For this reason, artificially produced human retinas and human retinas removed post-mortem (from the deceased) were used in experiments in order to test the gene therapy virus that the researchers had edited.

Even after this historic result in treating blindness, the investigations are not over. The goal of the current research is to fine-tune vision so that similar results can be achieved with face recognition and reading as with object recognition.

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