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.