Helping the blind to see with a new gene therapy - WNCN: News, Weather

Helping the blind to see with a new gene therapy

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OXFORD, U.K. - British researchers are testing a new gene therapy that has helped some blind people to see.

Six men recently took part in the experiment that replaces a defective gene in the eye.  Scientists injected a harmless virus into the eye.  In this case the virus carries a missing protein that helps eye cells detect light. 

Researchers say all six men can now see better in dim light and at least two have shown dramatic improvement.

"Rather than taking a pill or proteins or tablets, we're actually correcting the disease at the genetic level,” explained Dr. Robnert MacLaren, Lead Researcher, University of Oxford.  "We're going to be looking at the 21st century as the century in genetic medicine in the eye."

Researchers hope they can use gene therapy to treat more diseases that cause blindness within the next five years.

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