Oxford Eye Surgeons use Gene Therapy to Treat Eye Disease

gene therapy

The six patients had severe vision loss from choroideremia, a form of retinopathy that is genetic. The disease is fairly rare and manifests only in males. The cells at the back of the eye gradually die, leading to gradual vision loss and ultimately, blindness. Working copies of the faulty gene were injected into retina cells, along with a fluid to halt further degeneration.

After the surgery, the patients found their vision not only stabilized, but also improved. The patients with advanced retinopathy were able to read an optician’s chart significantly better and experienced improved function day-to-day. Patients whose vision loss was not as advanced saw improvements in night vision, which allowed them to see in dimmer light and drive at night. One patient reported being able to see foliage more vividly and stars in the sky for the first time in decades.

If these initial patients continue to improve, this surgery would be ideal for younger choroideremia patients in order to prevent vision loss. The treatment targets the same cells that are damaged by macular degeneration. Therefore, this work may lead to treatments in the future for diseases of the eye, perhaps even glaucoma.

This work was lead by Professor MacLaren at Oxford University in England.

Learn more about macular support.

Summary
Article Name
Oxford Eye Surgeons use Gene Therapy to Treat Eye Disease
Description
Gene therapy has been used successfully in England to improve vision in retinopathy patients who were going blind. The patents’ light-detecting cells were revived after surgeons inserted a gene into the diseased eyes. This trial may lead to treatments to cure certain common eye diseases such as macular degeneration.
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About Marc_Grossman

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, is a holistic eye doctor and co-author of a number of books on natural vision care. Since 1980 Dr. Grossman has been helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is dedicated to providing information to those with conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches with which to tackle difficult eye problems.