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Blindness breakthrough: Single gene injected into the back of the eye reverses one of most common types of sight loss

  • Breakthrough made in treating retinitis pigmentosa, which 20,000 Britons have
  • Single gene injected into the back of the eye found to restore vision in mice
  • Animals' blindness cured so that they again responded to beams of light
  • The eye continued to make vital protein which restores sight for 15 months after 
  • Oxford researchers says their work goes further than other on the disease

 



Scientists have used gene therapy to reverse one of the most common causes of blindness.

A single gene injected into the back of the eye restores vision, by fixing a problem which stops the retina detecting light.

The breakthrough, in mice experiments, saw the animals' blindness cured so that they again responded to beams of light and could see objects placed in their cage. Crucially, the eye continued to make a vital protein which restores sight for 15 months after the initial injection.

Researchers at the University of Oxford says the gene therapy goes further than other work on retinitis pigmentosa, which affects more than 20,000 people in Britain.

Single gene injected into the back of the eye found to restore vision in mice with retinitis pigmentosa (stock photo)