Shutterstock/Victor Tangermann
Cure the Blind

This Human Gene Editing Trial Will Use CRISPR to Treat Blindness

byVictor Tangermann
7. 30. 19
Shutterstock/Victor Tangermann

It's the first-ever study in the U.S. that uses CRISPR inside the body.

CRISPR Drawer

Up to 18 people, ages three and up, will be part of the first ever human study in the U.S. that uses the gene-editing technique CRISPR inside the body. The goal is to treat an eye disorder that causes blindness, according to the Associated Press.

In many cases the heritable disorder, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), eventually causes complete loss of vision. In fact, it’s the number one cause of inherited blindness in children.

The trial, which will be carried out by pharmaceutical companies Editas Medicine and Allergan, will attempt to address a specific variant of LCA called LCA 10. Researchers will use CRISPR to supply a healthy version of a gene that the patients lack through a subretinal injection.

See the Light

But this change will not be passed on to future generations, as the AP points out. That makes it different from the highly controversial series of human embryo trials by Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who used a similar technique to edit the germline of future human generations.

Advertisement

A different, non-CRISPR gene therapy treatment for LCA already exists, called Luxturna, which involves injecting a modified virus that delivers the corrected gene into the retina’s cells.

READ MORE: First CRISPR study inside the body to start in US [Associated Press]

More on CRISPR: Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Found a Safer Alternative to CRISPR


Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Advertisement

Share This Article

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.