About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Blindness may be Cured by Gene Therapy for Retinal Degeneration

by Rajashri on October 18, 2008 at 3:27 PM
Font : A-A+

 Blindness may be Cured by Gene Therapy for Retinal Degeneration

In a development that could lead to blindness cure, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have successfully restored vision in mice with retinal degeneration, using gene therapy.

The team was able to restore useful vision to mice with degeneration of the light-sensing retinal rods and cones, a common cause of human blindness, thus building hope that the technique may someday treat retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.


"This is a proof of principle that someday we may be able to repair blindness in people with conditions like retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration," said Richard Masland, PhD, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory in the MGH Department of Neurosurgery.

"There are several limitations we need to overcome before we can begin clinical trials, but I'm optimistic that this work may someday make a big difference for people who otherwise would have no vision at all," he added.

For the study the researchers examined the effect of expressing the light-sensitive protein melanopsin in retinal ganglion cells.

These specialized neurons receive light signals from the rods and cones and carry those signals into the brain via the optic nerve

The team used the standard viral vector adeno-associated virus to deliver the gene encoding melanopsin throughout the retinas of mice whose rod and cone photoreceptors had degenerated from lack of a crucial protein.

They found that after four weeks, melanopsin - normally produced in 1 percent of retinal ganglion cells - was found in about 10 percent of ganglion cells in the treated eyes but not in eyes that received a sham injection.

Further analysis of revealed that all melanopsin-expressing cells responded to light.

The researchers found that the treated mice - which otherwise would have been essentially blind - had enough vision to find a darkened refuge in an otherwise brightly lit area.

"The same level of melanopsin expression in a human retina might allow someone who otherwise would be totally blind to read newspaper headlines, but the slowness of the response would be a problem," said Masland.

The report appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 -
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
DNA Finger Printing Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Reiki and Pranic Healing Genetic Testing of Diseases Pancreas Blindness Facts Retinal Detachment Best Disease Usher Syndrome Trachoma 

Recommended Reading
Blindsight: How the Brain can See Despite Visual Damage
A study on monkeys has shed new light on Blindsight-a phenomenon in which patients with damage in .....
Diabetics More Likely to Suffer from Vision Loss
Visual impairment is more common in people with diabetes than those without the disease, according ....
Best Disease
People with Best disease may be completely normal or may suffer from blindness in due course....
DNA Finger Printing
DNA fingerprinting is a technique which helps forensic scientists and legal experts solve crimes, id...
Genetic Testing of Diseases
Genetic testing helps to confirm a genetic condition in an individual and involves q complex laborat...
Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment needs to be treated as soon as possible for good visual recovery. Its surgery in...
Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection. It is the main cause of irreversible blindness due to infecti...
Usher Syndrome
Usher syndrome is a rare genetic disease which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness in humans....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use