Gene Therapy, High-Tech Goggles Restore Some Vision to Blind People – The Wall Street Journal

Researchers are making dramatic strides towards an objective that as soon as appeared almost inconceivable: Restoring limited vision to individuals impacted by a previously irreversible form of loss of sight caused by an acquired eye illness called retinitis pigmentosa.
In a paper released Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers dealing with the Paris-based company GenSight Biologics SA reported that a 58-year-old guy who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa 40 years earlier had the ability to locate objects put on a table after receiving a speculative therapy. And New York City-based company Bionic Sight LLC announced in March that 4 blind individuals in an early-stage scientific trial are now able to discover light and movement after undergoing a similar treatment. Those results havent yet been published.
The patients all had actually advanced cases of retinitis pigmentosa, which impacts more than 2 million people world-wide. All went through optogenetic treatment, in which an injection is used to provide a gene into the eye to increase the light sensitivity of specific cells in the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of the eye. The companies are developing modern safety glasses that process and magnify light in a method that improves the cells capability to send electrical signals to the brain.
Dr. Anand Swaroop, a senior private investigator at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md., called optogenetic therapy an exciting option for some blind individuals however not a remedy. Once sight is lost entirely, he said, “Restoring vision that enables high resolution, high sensitivity, and high detection is not simple.”
Barry Honig, a participant in the Bionic Sight trial, stated that individuals had frequently asked him if he wish to have the ability to see once again. “This is the very first time I have actually felt it is obtainable,” he said.

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