Doctors at the Oxford Eye Hospital in Britain conducted the first ever gene treatment that makes use of DNA to correct an incurable form of blindness. The procedure was done for a 63-year old man, leading to hopes that the treatment could be used to cure millions of blind people across the world.
The procedure was conducted by researchers from Oxford University who used the treatment to overcome the effects of choroideraemia, a condition in which leads to degeneration of light sensitive lenses due to a missing gene.
Jonathan Wyatt, who is an arbitration lawyer from Bristol, was the first person to receive this treatment with 11 others expected to be treated in the trial. Wyatt still had some amount of sight left, due to the late onset of the condition, though a large majority of patients become completely blind by their 40s.
Lead researcher Professor Robert MacLaren expressed hope that the trial will be successful and they could they go on to treat patients who are still in their childhood. "If this works with Jonathan then we would want to go in and treat patients at a much earlier stage in childhood, effectively where they still have normal vision and can do normal things to prevent them from losing sight.", he said.