Of Bionic Eyes And Otic Progenitors

Two recent developments, one in stem cell technology and one in neural prosthetics, are raising eyebrows and perking up ears around the world.  Researchers from the University of Sheffield implanted a type of stem cells called otic progenitor cells into the damaged auditory nerves of gerbils.  Not only did the stem cells differentiate into neurons and physically integrate into the hearing apparatus of the rodents, but the previously deaf animals actually regained their ability to hear.  The researchers are optimistic that their work will lead to innovative treatments allowing people with hearing loss to hear again.

Meanwhile in Australia… Dianne Ashworth, a woman who lost her sight due to a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa became the first person to receive a “pre bionic eye” from  a government backed consortium called Bionic Vision Australia.  The prototype 24-electrode device was implanted in Ms. Ashworth’s retina and  enabled her to see “flashes of light.”  The team is working towards a 1,024 electrode model that will allow patients to distinguish faces and read large print books.  The devices would be particularly helpful for people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

The Greenbaum Patent Blog is the blog of Eric A. Greenbaum esq, founder of Greenbaum P.C., an intellectual property law firm located in Long Island New York.  The firm focuses on patent and trademark prosecution, licensing and contract work for independent inventors, small companies and start-ups in New York City (NYC,) Long Island and around the country.  Intellectual property law is a rapidly evolving field of law and the issues are very fact-specific.  Nothing on this blog should be taken as legal advice.  Consult with an attorney for help on your particular case.  

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