17.10.2014

Gene therapy "may prevent blindness"

Gene therapy "may prevent blindness"

A new study has revealed that gene therapy may be used to prevent an eye condition which can lead to future blindness.

According to a report by researchers from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, the rare condition leber congenital amaurosis, which affects one in every 80,000 people, can be stopped.

Lead investigator Dr Arlene Drack said that a copy of the RPE65 gene is the key component in the treatment process and can stifle the condition before it causes blindness in the sufferer.

She explained: "The interpretation of DNA variants is complex. Careful, accurate genetic diagnosis leads to effective treatment for patients and avoids treating patients who cannot benefit from the current therapy."

The study follows recent research carried out by experts at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, which established a link between the breathing disorder sleep apnoea and the condition known as floppy eye syndrome.

by Alexa Kaczka


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