Researchers working as part of the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center have developed a new way use stem cells that may one day enable restoration of vision to people with damaged corneas by using their own eye tissue.
Researchers are using a new type of highly sensitive atomic force microscopy (AFM) to analyze eye cell cultures. This technique enables researchers to probe and exert force on individual cells to learn more about the cell's overall health and its ability to turn into different types of mature cells. “Just think about trying to gently dimple or prod the top of an individual cell without killing it; with conventional AFM it's close to impossible," said James Lauderdale, an associate professor of cellular biology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and paper co-author.
The research team has also developed a microfluidic cell-sorting device capable of filtering out specific cells from a tissue sample. With this device, it is possible to collect the patient's own tissue, sort and culture the cells, and then place them back into the patient all in one day.
A publication of the study is available here.