Several types of retina cells have been created from stem cells, according to a study published online yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We're able to produce significant numbers of photoreceptor cells and other retinal cell types…which are lost in many disorders," Jason Meyer, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, said in a prepared statement. The findings "could serve as a foundation for unlocking the mechanisms that produce human retinal cells," he noted.

The team relied on both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—made from cultured adult skin cells—to create the retinal cells. The researchers hope that by using the parallel methods of both embryonic and iPS cells, they can also shed some light on the differences between the two.