New Gene Therapy Helps Blind Man To See Again

By: | May 25th, 2021

An international team of researchers has used form of gene therapy to restore vision in a patient with retinitis pigmentosa.

Members from the Institut de la Vision and Hôpital National des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, the University of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), StreetLab, and GenSight Biologics came together to achieve this major milestone for gene-based therapy.

The research focused on treating blindness from retinitis pigmentosae only. Retinitis pigmentosae is a rare, inherited degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment due to the breakdown of cells that absorb and convert light into brain signals.

This therapy can effectively reverse a state of near-total blindness in a patient suffering from retinitis pigmentosae. The patient is injected into the eye and then activating genes with light-producing goggles.

A small step but it’s a great achievement for the people who are completely blind

Researchers successfully restored partial vision in a 58-year-old blind man. The person was able to detect large objects like a notebook, staple box, glass tumblers, etc using special goggles.

Though it’s not even close to full restoration of the vision, it’s still a compelling discovery for gene-based therapy.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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