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Monica L. Vetter, Peter F. Hitchcock; Report on the National Eye Institute Audacious Goals Initiative: Replacement of Retinal Ganglion Cells from Endogenous Cell Sources. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2017;6(2):5. doi: 10.1167/tvst.6.2.5.
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This report emerges from a workshop convened by the National Eye Institute (NEI) as part of the “Audacious Goals Initiative” (AGI). The workshop addressed the replacement of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from exogenous and endogenous sources, and sought to identify the gaps in our knowledge and barriers to progress in devising cellular replacement therapies for diseases where RGCs die. Here, we briefly review relevant literature regarding common diseases associated with RGC death, the genesis of RGCs in vivo, strategies for generating transplantable RGCs in vitro, and potential endogenous cellular sources to regenerate these cells. These topics provided the clinical and scientific context for the discussion among the workshop participants and are relevant to efforts that may lead to therapeutic approaches for replacing RGCs. This report also summarizes the content of the workshop discussion, which focused on: (1) cell sources for RGC replacement and regeneration, (2) optimizing integration, survival, and synaptogenesis of new RGCs, and (3) approaches for assessing the outcomes of RGC replacement therapies. We conclude this report with a summary of recommendations, based on the workshop discussions, which may guide vision scientists seeking to develop therapies for replacing RGCs in humans.
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