Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First Attempt at Gene Therapy For Sight Disorder

Today marks another important date in the ongoing quest to mitigate the arbitrary and often tragic consequences of the natural lottery of life. As this BBC News piece reports, Robert Johnson underwent the first ever gene therapy for a sight disorder. It will be months before the results of the experimental therapy are known. And researchers at University College London Institute of Ophthalmology spent 15 years working on the therapy. Here is an excerpt from the BBC story:

Mr Johnson's disorder is caused by a faulty gene called RPE65.

This defect stops the layer of cells in the retina at the back of the eye from working.

Usually, these are cells that detect light, but in Mr Johnson's case they are damaged, and stop him from seeing properly.

The operation involves injecting working copies of the defective gene into the back of the eye.

It is hoped that the replacment genes will enable the retina to detect light - and eventually improve Mr Johnson's sight.

Let's hope the technique proves successful. I'll be sure to post an update on this story once the results of the procedure are known.