6. Gene therapy corrects blindness at U.K. hospital
A University of Oxford–led research team is starting a clinical trial to use gene therapy to correct defective genes in the eyes in order to treat retinitis pigmentosa.
Gene therapy inserts the correct copy of a defective gene into the cells using a virus. Robert MacLaren, a University of Oxford professor and leader of the research team, reprogrammed the genetic code involved with retinitis pigmentosa to make it more stable. The reprogrammed cells could be delivered by a viral vector into cells in the retina, according to a March 20 news release.
The first of the clinical trial took place on March 16 at the Oxford Eye Hospital on a 29-year old patient who has retinitis pigmentosa.