American scientists have succeeded in reaching revolutionary results that open hope to restoring sight to millions of people with congenital blindness, by using the “CRISPR” gene-editing technology, according to the Spanish newspaper, “The Confidencial”.
According to the newspaper, the technique provided new results to restore sight to many blind people, due to a genetic disease called “Liber”.
“We are excited to see the early and effective signs of the technology, because this means that the gene-editing technology is working very well,” said Eric Pearce, professor of ophthalmology at Harvard and MIT Eye.
“This is the first time they have concrete evidence that gene-editing technology works efficiently in the body and improves visual function in blind people,” said Pierce.
Instead of extracting cells from subjects’ bodies — to edit their genes and then reinjecting them — the researchers modified a virus using CRISPR technology, ramping up their numbers billions of times to get the doses needed.
And the American public radio NPR said, “Scientists have injected different doses of these viruses into the retina of 7 patients with this genetic disease.”
The radio indicated that “the virus, upon injection, began to infect the cells of the retina, but instead of producing copies of it, the virus modified the genetic mutation that causes the disease, restore vision, and reactivate dormant cells.”
According to the study, the result was impressive, although it was not successful in all cases for reasons that are still being studied, as patients received different doses in the trials.
“The technology is amazing and very effective, and it can make a difference in a lot of patients,” said Mark Pennessy, a professor at the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health & Science University and lead author of the study.
According to Benessy, “The treatment does not restore sight perfectly, but the results have been so great that they are already starting a new phase of testing with more patients, which is where they need to know the scope of this particular treatment and how far they can go.”
For patients in the trial, the change was drastic. Carlene Knight described how her vision went from being completely blurry and preventing her from walking without a cane, to now distinguishing objects and colors to the point where she can navigate on her own, locating a fallen thorn on the ground.
For the rest of the patients whose treatment was successful, they also had similar experiences, where it became easier to eat meals in a restaurant without assistance, while this was an impossible task before.