Oct. 20, 2021
Patients with significant vision loss have experienced improvement after a CRISPR gene-editing experiment to the point that they can see color again, according to reporting by Rob Stein on Shots, NPR’s healthcare website.
Stein interviewed experiment participant Carlene Knight about the difference the procedure made to the quality of her vision: “Her vision has improved enough for her to make out doorways, navigate hallways, spot objects and even see colors,” Stein writes.
“It’s nice. I don’t scare people and I don’t have as many bruises on my body,” Knight told Stein of how she doesn’t bump into things nearly as much as she used to.
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Knight is one of seven patients with a rare eye disease who volunteered to let doctors modify their DNA by injecting the gene-editing tool CRISPR directly into cells that are still in their bodies, Stein reports.
Last month, researchers revealed the first evidence that the approach appears to be working — improving vision for at least some patients with the condition, known as Leber congenital amaurosis, or LCA, a severe form of vision impairment, Stein writes.
More patients will need to be treated and followed using this gene-editing technique before researchers can fully gauge its effectiveness.
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