Biotecnología en Israel para devolverle la retina a los ciegos


El Profesor Yael Hanein, director del Centro de Nanociencia, nanotecnología y Nanomedicina del Instituto de la Universidad de Tel Aviv presentó recientemente los resultados de la investigación durante los últimos diez años en su laboratorio para crear una retina artificial capaz de reemplazar la acción de los fotorreceptores naturales del ojo, cuando son destruidos por degeneración macular relacionada con la edad [AMD].

Esta investigación se presentó en una jornada internacional de estudios organizado en Londres por Solve for X, el laboratorio de ideas lanzadas por Google para promover proyectos de innovación para abordar los principales retos científicos con tecnologías de vanguardia (llamados “Proyectos Moonshots” entre la ciencia y la ciencia ficción).
Leer más: Oftalmólogos israelíes implementaron revolucionarias gotas que podrían reemplazar los anteojos

Con el aumento de la longevidad en los países desarrollados es que más y más personas sufren de esta enfermedad, que daña seriamente o totalmente las habilidades en lectura, escritura y reconocimiento de rostros.

Es por eso que los investigadores en su trabajo de laboratorio en los últimos diez años desarrollaron lo que ellos llaman una visión artificial.

El sistema visual consiste esencialmente en la capacidad de nuestro cerebro para recibir e interpretar la información visual. Biológicamente, se basa en la función de los fotorreceptores células nerviosas sensibles que reciben los rayos de luz y las convierten en señales eléctricas transmitidas al cerebro a través del nervio óptico.

Es estos fotorreceptores sometidos a la degeneración cuando el paciente sufre de AMD.

Transferir señales eléctricas en el cerebro

El objetivo de la visión por ordenador es en realidad para reemplazar estos fotorreceptores que destruye un dispositivo que imita el sistema natural que percibe la información visual, capaz de transferir señales eléctricas en el cerebro.

“Es el mismo principio del implante coclear del oído interno”, dijo el profesor. Hanein. “Hoy en día, estas tecnologías no entran dentro de la ciencia ficción”.

“Los prototipos de visión artificial se desarrollaron y se probaron durante mucho tiempo en el laboratorio, pero eran demasiado grandes y voluminosos para uso quirúrgico”, dijo. “El desafío es desarrollar un compacto que se puede insertar con precisión en el ojo y se coloca en la retina“.

Leer más: Médicos israelíes realizaron 100 cirugías de ojos en Togo

Para ello, los investigadores del laboratorio del profesor Hanein utilizan nanotubos de carbono dentro de los cuales se introducen los componentes fotosensibles.

Integrado con un polímero biocompatible, estos nanotubos pueden generar el campo eléctrico de estimulación retiniana necesario. “Los tubos de nano-carbono son ideales para esta aplicación”, dice.

“Se unen al tejido biológico, casi como un velcro natural y fantástico. Con dispositivos electroquímicos que se pueden utilizar como electrodos, tanto para la grabación y la estimulación”.

“Aún tenemos que desarrollar un gran número de detalles importantes”.

Pero ya demostramos que funciona; que podemos estimular y restaurar la información visual de la retina en un sistema esencialmente ciego”, dijo el profesor Hanein. Finalmente concluye: “El verdadero desafío no es sólo prolongar la vida, sino garantizar que las personas sigan viviendo felices, saludables e independientes”.

Leer más: VIDEO: Anteojos creados en Israel les permiten a leer a personas no videntes

Con información de Israel Noticias


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