Gene Therapy a Possible Cure for Blindness

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vision Rectification

Researchers from the University of Oxford have conducted a groundbreaking experiment to cure people suffering from Choroideremia, a degenerative disease that causes blindness. The disease usually strikes one in 50,000 people, especially males.

The disease Choroideremia is caused due to faulty stretch of a gene called CHM which produces a protein called REP-1 due to which light detecting cells in the retina stop working and slowly die out ultimately leading to blindness. Researchers in order to correct this fault conducted an operation similar to a cataract surgery and inserted a virus which carried the corrective gene underneath the retina.

A total of nine patients received the treatment in only one eye so that its progress can be compared with the other eye. The results are encouraging with patients reporting improvement in vision lasting for up to two years, but it is yet to be seen whether it will last indefinitely. The results might encourage the treatment of age related macular degeneration which is caused by a whole host of faulty genes. 

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