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April 27, 2008

Gene Therapy used to improve the vision of genetically related Blindness

Gene therapy used to the vision of people with a form of blindness called Leber's Congenital Amaurosis This seems to be the beginning of being able to successfully correct or alter function that is genetically based in adults.

The procedure was safe and effective

Two of the volunteers who could only see hand motions were able to read a few lines of an eye chart within weeks.

One of the treated patients: Steven Howarth said he used to rush home from school because he was worried about getting around in the dark, according to remarks issued by the university. "Now, my sight when it's getting dark or it's badly lit is definitely better. It's a small change — but it makes a big difference to me," said Howarth, who lives in Bolton, near Manchester. After the injection last July, Howarth said his eye felt like sandpaper. It was better after a week, and his eyesight gradually improved. He was able to negotiate a dimly lit maze in 14 seconds without bumping into any obstacles; before it took him 77 seconds with eight errors.

There were no serious side effects reported in either group.

FURTHER READING
Gene Therapy for Leber Congenital Amaurosis : Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is an inherited retinal disease that causes with severe visual impairment in infancy or early childhood. Current research on a gene transfer therapy may offer hope to people with a form of this disease.

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