Blindness – another step towards possible therapy

Losing sight is a horror vision for many. So for me. I would not like to lose any of my 5 senses, but least of all my ability to see. Blindness has many causes, including hereditary or spontaneous mutation-induced retinopathia pigmentosa , an umbrella term for a variety of degenerative diseases of the eye. The photoreceptors essential for vision in the retina degenerate and the patient becomes blind over time. Approximately 40,000 people are affected in Germany.

Scientists led by Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, it is now in a study managed using the hyped rightly genetic scissors CRISPR / Cas9 restore vision loss in young rats in part. They constructed a special transfer virus, which they use to copy a missing piece of the gene Mertk, which is responsible for vision loss in special laboratory ratesbuilt into the genome of this virus. These viruses were then injected directly into the eyes of these rats, where they infected the photoreceptors and thus infiltrated the missing part of this genome. Due to special DNA repair mechanisms that take place in cells every day, the missing piece of the gene Mertk became in about 5% of the cells , which significantly increased the eyesight of these rats.

Impressive results, but just another one of many steps towards complete vision restoration in patients with degenerative diseases of the eye. Many problems, such as the low efficiency and the subsequent transfer of this technology to humans, still have to be addressed and solved, but I am sure that with the help of the bacterial CRISPR / Cas9 system some diseases can be cured.

More on CRISPR / Cas9 technology soon on

You can hear what the participating scientists say about your study in the video below.

Image: Section of a mouse brain. Nuclei are marked with antibodies in blue and genome-edited neurons in green.

Image source: Salk Institute

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