Gene therapy restore vision

Thanks to the introduction of eye copies of genes that activate the light sensitive cells, surgeons from the University of Oxford was saved from blindness 6 people with a single injection.

The first who had the surgery were people with a genetic disease of the retina – choroideremia. It is a hereditary degeneration of the choroid, due to the absence of one gene on the X chromosome. The main symptoms are night blindness with progressive and concentric narrowing of the visual fields. Because men only have one X chromosome, the disease affects only them. In the end, to 40-60 years in most patients is overtaken by blindness.

However, gene therapy could restore vision in people suffering from degenerative eye diseases. After surgery, patients stopped the process of atrophy. Treatment not only not have any side effects, but also led to improved vision subjects. Six months after gene delivery recovery of vision was observed in all patients. Moreover, they have developed hypersensitivity to light.

At the moment, was operated on only patients with this rare disease, but doctors hope that their technology will be able to help people with other genetic diseases that lead to blindness.



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