Chemist Direct discusses Gene therapy that offers hope to thousands of people suffering from degenerative blindness

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Thousands of people in the UK suffering from common forms of blindness could have their sight restored after undergoing a breakthrough new treatment, Chemist Direct discovers.

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy may be able to help restore sight for some forms of blindness

Gene therapy is a new development, which uses technology to replace the defective genes with a normal working copy, with a single injection.

Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that by replacing a missing gene into the retina, they can prevent cells from degenerating. Scientists hope that early intervention with the surgical treatment will halt progression of the devastating disorder before patients are entirely robbed of their sight. (http://bit.ly/1gOIohJ)

Superintendent Pharmacist at ChemistDirect, Omar El-Gohary, said: “A lot of degenerative eye diseases result from faulty genes. Gene therapy is a new development, which uses technology to replace the defective genes with a normal working copy, with a single injection.”

It is the first time gene therapy has successfully been applied to the light-sensitive photoreceptors of the retina, the digital camera at the back of the eye.

Results from the preliminary results done by Oxford University researchers has shown that from the first six patients to take part, two men with advanced stages of choroideremia, (a degenerative retinal disease which leads to loss in sight) experienced dramatic improvements to their sight.

A third of diseases which affect the eyes are genetic in origin and scientists are confident the therapy could be adapted to help patients with other illnesses.

El-Gohary added: “Factors other than genetics contributing to the development of eye related diseases can be mutations, which can occur with age and trigger macular disease. The treatment is the same; to replace the faulty gene with a functioning one.”

There are currently 500,000 people in Britain with age-related degenerative macular disease, with one in 20 people over 65 suffering from the disease. This pioneering technology could make an enormous difference to the lives of thousands. (http://bit.ly/1fhvH1I)

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Samantha Smith
Chemist Direct
+44 1215414952 Ext: 205
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