Technology will enable the blind to restore sight from first human experiment

According to MIT’s technology review reports show that United States Texas doctors are planning to use ground-breaking neural science and technology to restore blind people’s sight. RetroSense Therapeutics company based in Ann Arbor, trying to be known as the “genetics” technique to modify neurons, in order to achieve light “on” or “off” their purpose.

It is understood that this technology has been demonstrated in mice and monkeys body, but this is the first time it was applied to the human body. The technology review reports that Southwest retina Foundation will participate in the experiment, which involved 15 patients with retinitis pigmentosa. People who suffer from this disease eye retinal photoreceptor cells degenerate, patients lost peripheral vision and night vision capabilities, and ultimately blindness.

Light to treat blindness

Previously, scientists had used “optogenetics” technique will fear memories in mice brain remove. “Optogenetics” involves using viruses to infect cells in the brain, the virus carried in light-sensitive proteins found in algae. Once the cells are infected, they will be a color or a specific wavelength of light “on” or “off”.

Typically, scientists must be implanted in the brain of animal fiber-optic cable to access to these photoreceptor cells. From this point of view, the eye is the ideal goal of this therapy, because it has been exposed to the light, and does not require any cables or performing brain surgery.

Under the plan, doctors would gene containing photosensitive ganglion cells of the virus injected into the eyes of patients with cells that send signals from the retina to the brain. Due to retinal damage in patients, doctors hope to be able to work around these cells and ganglion cells respond directly to light.

In addition, accepted this test in patients with retinitis pigmentosa is not completely blind, but they can only see in front of you waving hands. RetroSense Therapeutics CEO Sean Ainsworth in an interview, said he hopes that this treatment can help patients see chairs and even reach the level of being able to read large font. Lunatik iWatch frame

New brain therapy start

However, is in need of attention, the light-sensitive protein that exists in algae, can only respond to the single color of light. Scientists believe that this treatment a success and even their vision restored, the world can only see a single color. So far, we don’t know how they perceive color, could not verify that they really can see a color other than black.

The experiment is successful remains to be seen, but its prospects are very exciting. At present, scientists have begun to explore the use of “genetics” technique to treatment of other diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and so on.

Neuroscience and Scientific Director of the National Institute on drug abuse, said, this new technology faster than we expected, in the next 5 years, we may be able to use “optogenetics” technique for treating brain diseases. Lunatik iWatch Case

[Article correction]

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Tags: Science and technology

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Originally published at on February 28, 2016.

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