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台灣視網膜色素病變協會
:::左側區塊

Retinal Implant Brings Eyesight To The Blind

發佈日期:2012/02/22 pm01:15:28

內容:
The first human clinical trials for a retinal implant have been a success – allowing those who had been blind to see again.
About 200,000 people in the United States and Europe suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes the slow degradation of eyesight starting from a young age, and often leads to blindness. The problem is that the genes in the eye are “programmed” to produce the wrong number of proteins that are needed for the cells. Over time, this causes the rods and cones in the eye end up dying, which is what leads to diminished and then lost eyesight.
Right now, there are no approved treatments to either restore eyesight or even slow the progression of the disease, but that may soon change as teams of researchers and companies are working on curing the condition.
One of those companies, Retina Implant, AG, has developed a new retinal implant that partially restores vision to people who’ve lost their sight to retinitis pigmentosa. A first round of human clinical trials began in 2005 and concluded in 2010. That trial showed extraordinary promise, and the results were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in November of 2010. The results showed that patients who received the implant had their eyesight partially restored to the point where they could distinguish objects and shapes and even read.

The implant itself is a small electronic chip, only 9 square mm, that’s implanted directly beneath the retina. The chip contains about 1500 electrodes and are powered inductively by transmitter coils placed under the skin. When light coming into the eye hits the electrodes, the chip converts the light into electricity, which then stimulates nerves in the retina. The stimulation is then perceived by the brain as sight. This differs from other implant technologies, which rely on cameras to capture and interpret the images.
A second round of clinical trials has begun, and patients have already received the implants in Germany. The company is working to obtain approval to start new clinical trials in Pennsylvania and London. The first clinical trial only had eleven patients, but no complications arose from the
procedure. By the end of the second round of clinical trials, 60 people will have tried the implant, which should provide a lot more data about its optimal use.
What’s particularly exciting about this implant to me, though, is not only is it bringing back sight to the blind, but the manner in which it works should be able to be adapted to other types of blindness as well. A decade from now, this technology might be the equivalent of cochlear implants, which are steadily improving to provide a substituted form of hearing to those who are deaf or severely hard of hearing.
I think this shows some pretty amazing potential.

中文簡述:
視網膜植入在人類臨床實驗上首次獲得了成功,可以讓那些失明的人再度重見光明。

在美國及歐洲大約有20萬人患有視網膜色素病變,這是一種遺傳疾病,會造成視力從年輕時就開始漸漸衰退,甚至導致失明。推究問題的原因為眼睛的基因在產生細胞的程序上所需的蛋白質的錯誤,隨著時間過去,這會導致眼睛內的標尺和錐狀細胞瀕臨死亡,接著造成視力越來越弱,最後失明。

目前並沒有被批准的治療可以恢復視力或者延緩疾病的發生,但這可能很快就會改變,因為有些公司及研究團隊正在致力於治療此種疾病。

其中一間公司,Retina Implant, AG已經發展出新的視網膜植入技術,可以保存人們因視網膜色素病變所失去的視力。第一輪的人體臨床實驗在2005年開始,並於2010年結束。該試驗表現出非凡的成果,並將結果發表於2010年11月的英國皇家學會會報。結果證明,接受治療的患者的視力有部份恢復的跡象,已經可以區分物體的形狀,甚至具有閱讀能力。

植入物本身是一個微小的電子晶片,只有9平方毫米,直接植入視網膜下方,該晶片包含1500個電極以及利用放置在皮膚下的線圈電感來供電,當光線進入眼睛,撞擊電極,晶片將光轉為電能,然後刺激視網膜神經,這是將晶片當成視力的大腦,刺激知覺,不同於其他的植入技術,這是利用相機的原理來捕捉和解釋圖像。

第二輪的臨床實驗已經開始,患者也已經開始在德國接受治療,該公司正在獲得批准,預計在賓夕法尼亞大學以及倫敦展開新的臨床實驗。第一輪的臨床實驗只有11個病人,且過程中沒有併發症發生,隨著第二輪臨床實驗的結束,60人接受治療,可以提供更大量的數據。為甚麼這項治療特別吸引我呢?因為它不僅使盲人重見光明,也或許可以適用於其他原因所造成的失明。從現在開始的十年間,這項技術可能相當於人工耳蝸植入,提供了治療失聰或嚴重重聽的方法。

這項研究顯示了一些驚人的潛力。