More than 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
About 80% of vision impairment problems are treatable or cured, except in cases of total blindness, especially those caused by severe retinal degenerations, but can the visual function of their patients be restored?
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), laboratory tests conducted by the researchers led by Samantha de Silva in the United Kingdom showed that the sight of blind people For treatment.
The researchers wrote in the paper: “Genetic retinal degeneration may lead to blindness because of the continued loss of photoreceptor cells.” They also wrote: “We are evaluating the subcutaneous delivery of human melanopenin, using a transgenic viral vector to the remaining retinal cells, Retinal in its final phase “.
The researchers used genetic therapy to introduce a viral vector in retinal cells located in the posterior interior of the eye, which was not sensitive to light. The viral vector works to introduce a light-sensitive protein called melanopsin ), Gives retinal cell residues the ability to respond to light, and send visual signals to the brain.
The researchers were able to maintain the sight of laboratory mice infected with retinitis pigmentosa, the most common cause of blindness in young people, for more than a year. The mice showed high levels of perception of light, which helped them recognize objects in The surrounding environment.
De Silva and her colleagues experimented with an electrical grid, noting that gene therapy is simple and easy to apply, and there are other similar experiments on age blindness, while attempts are being made to use a FDA-approved gene therapy to cure people with genetic retinal blindness.
The results are promising, especially after De Silva noticed the hope given to blind people. “Many patients with vision loss come to our clinics, and it is wonderful to take part of their vision through a simple hereditary process,” she said. “Our next step is to start a clinical trial to assess patients’ outcomes.”