Scientists restore vision to legally blind people by altering their DNA


In a groundbreaking scientific victory, scientists recently succeeded in restoring vision in legally blind patients through a gene editing experiment. Many people who participated in this experiment were born with vision problems, but are now able to see better and even feel colors..

Seven patients volunteered for the experiment, in which doctors altered their DNA by injecting a gene-editing CRISPR directly into cells. Researchers revealed on Wednesday that patients with congenital amaurosis (ACL), a severe form of visual impairment, saw their vision improve after gene editing therapy..

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Meet CRISPR

CRISPR has never been used to modify genes like this before. Scientists had previously used the tool to take cells from patients’ bodies, bring them to the lab for modification, and then infuse the modified cells into patients..

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The results of the study were presented by Dr. Mark Pennesi of the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health & Science University at the International Retinal Degeneration Symposium in Nashville, USA. Although the treatments appear to be successful, Pennesi urged caution while pursuing them on patients. Carlene Knight, one of the subjects in the study, told NPR that she is able to see colors brighter and more vivid than ever.

How was the vision restored?

ACL is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents important cells from growing in the retina. Due to this condition, patients begin to experience progressive loss of vision, after which they become legally blind.

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Unlike gene editing for other diseases, doctors infused the modified gene directly into the eye rather than into a Petri dish. Until now, patients have received CRISPR treatment in only one eye. Treatment will be extended to the other eye if all goes well.

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Even then, the treatment did not repair the vision for all. Doctors suspect that this is due to insufficient dosage or too much visual damage. Of course, none of the patients are able to see how fully functioning eyes would, but such minor changes also help them live fuller lives.

Is gene editing the future of disease elimination? Let us know what you think in the comments below. To learn more about the world of science and technology, keep reading Indiatimes.com.


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