The journal Nature Communications published the results of a study of scientists from the University of Fudan, who developed a prototype of a new artificial photoreceptor. This is the name for the light-sensitive structures inside the eyes that are responsible for receiving information from outside – what we call “the ability to see.” Like any part of the body, they can be damaged, but now researchers have a chance to create a special prosthesis.
Chinese scientists have based on titanium dioxide, a material with a pronounced reaction to the entry of photons of light. They constructed from it a grid of photoreceptors, which, with the help of nanowires of gold, were implanted in experimental mice. But first, for the purity of the experiment, vivisectors damaged the genome of rodents, so that they blinded themselves “naturally”, by degrading their own photoreceptors in the eyes.
After the blind implant mice were installed, they reacted again to light, the reaction differing depending on the selected part of the visible spectrum. But only – at the current stage, scientists can not understand how detailed the mouse is, whether they recognize the images, whether or not the colors are different. Only the very fact of restoration of the reaction to light – however, the implants successfully worked more than 8 weeks on different individuals without any side effects, which is already a good result.
Experts from other countries have already seen in Chinese development a chance to get a cheap and effective remedy against ailments like pigment retinitis or macular degeneration. Both diseases are very common in all countries, especially in the elderly – if we learn how to replace the photoreceptors that have served their implants, the world will surely “see through” again.