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Mouse Vision Restored

Researchers have restored vision in mice with optic nerve injuries, a step toward possible treatments for glaucoma and other aging-related diseases, Agence France Presse reports.

Senior author David Sinclair from Harvard Medical School and his colleagues report in the journal Nature that ectopic expression of Oct4, Sox2, and Klf4 (OSK) could coax mouse retinal ganglion cells to revert to the DNA methylation patterns typically observed among younger mice. The OSK genes are three of the four Yamanaka transcription factors that reprogram cultured somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells.

The researchers additionally treated a mouse model of optic nerve damage with the OSK transcription factors to find that the cocktail stimulated axon regeneration. Likewise, in a mouse model of glaucoma, OSK treatment led to increased axonal density and visual acuity. Further, in older mice with other aging-related vision loss, OSK treatment could improve visual acuity among some mice.

According to Nature News, Harvard has licensed the technology to Life Biosciences, which is now conducting preclinical safety tests.

"There are many labs now who are working on this whole concept of reprogramming," Buck Institute for Research on Aging's Judith Campisi tells it. "We should be hopeful but, like everything else, it needs to be repeated and it needs to be extended."

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more