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Sunday / April 14.
HomeminewsFirst AMD Gene Therapy

First AMD Gene Therapy

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) scientists in the United Kingdom have carried out the world’s first gene therapy operation to treat age related macular degeneration (AMD).

The procedure was carried out by Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, with support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre in a clinical trial sponsored by Gyroscope Therapeutics.

The operation involves detaching the retina and injecting a solution containing a virus underneath. The virus contains a modified DNA sequence, which infects cells and corrects a genetic defect that causes AMD.

The aim of the therapy is to halt the progress of the condition and preserve what vision patients have remaining. If successful, it is hoped that gene therapy can be used in the future on patients with early AMD and halt the disease before their vision has started to deteriorate.

“A genetic treatment administered early on to preserve the vision in patients who would otherwise lose their sight would be a tremendous breakthrough and certainly something I hope to see in the near future,” said Prof MacLaren.

The first person to undergo the procedure had AMD in both eyes, and most advanced in her left. The 80 year old said she was motivated to help others with the condition. “I wasn’t thinking of me. I was thinking of other people. For me, I hope my sight doesn’t get any worse. That would be fantastic. It means I wouldn’t be such a nuisance to my family,” she said.