CRISPR Technique Restores Sight to Nearly Blind People

The CRISPR gene editing technique has been successfully used to treat people who are almost blind due to Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). LCA causes the patient's vision to become increasingly impaired so that 1/3 will be completely blind after a few years.

Scientists from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) conducted a clinical study on 14 LCA patients between 2020 and 2023. The CRISPR technique was used to edit the CEP290 gene which is one of the causes of LCA occurring directly in the patient's retina.

Then all patients were given a test to identify objects and alphabets, look at light sources, find a way out in a maze and share the changes in quality of life after undergoing treatment. Although LCA cannot be fully treated to restore perfect vision, the increased level of quality of life enjoyed gives hope to patients who no longer need to worry or be completely blind.

CRISPR gene editing treatment was approved to treat sickle cell anemia last year. Although effective, the cost of undergoing the treatment reaches $2.2 million per person.

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