Hadassah

Success of Clinical Trial Brings Researchers Closer to a Cure for Blindness

Thursday, Dec 15 2011

Researchers at the Hadassah University Medical Center have completed a clinical trial which has successfully demonstrated the efficacy of gene therapy in restoring vision to patients with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a genetic condition which causes severe visual impairment and eventual blindness.

Those with LCA experience poor night vision, low visual acuity, and a constricted visual field. The low vision continues to deteriorate, until the individual becomes totally blind. Some victims of LCA also suffer from crossed eyes, roving eye movements, unusual sensitivity to light, and/or cataracts. LCA is usually inherited as an autosomal recessive genetic condition.

The study, conducted by Dr. Eyal Banin of Hadassah's Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration in collaboration with leading researchers in the United States and Great Britain, involved replacing the damaged RPE65 gene with a normal one. The procedure, whereby the gene was injected into the retina, also triggered renewed protein production.

Two participants in the study, Dana and Yossi, were treated with this gene therapy in just part of the retina of one eye, with dramatic results: A few weeks following treatment, both participants noted a substantial improvement in their vision.

"It was amazing because today I see things that I have never seen before," Yossi related. Dana noted that "learning of this new treatment was a life-changing event. I'm experiencing a real change." To hear directly from Dana and Yossi about the success of their treatment, click to http://www.mvrf.org/news.php.

Yossi and Dana's self-reporting of visual improvement is corroborated by objective, quantitative measurements of the treated area. With the continuation of this research, Hadassah's scientists will develop gene therapy to treat additional retinal degenerative diseases. "You cannot imagine what an effect this has had not only on the treated patients and their families," notes Dr. Banin, "but also on the wider population of patients with retinal and macular degenerations here in Israel, who suddenly feel some glimmer of hope." He added that "we feel very fortunate to have Macula Vision Research Foundation (MVRF) as our partners in this very exciting journey. Without funding from MVRF, we could not have conducted this clinical trial."

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Wednesday, Feb 22 2017

Hadassah Medical Organization Performs Israel’s First Spina Bifida Fetal Surgery To Lessen Crippling Spinal Damage

History was made at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on Thursday, February 9 when a team of Israeli surgeons successfully operated on a 5-month-old fetus using a new procedure that only three doctors in the world can perform, to alleviate some of the crippling effects of Spina Bifida.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Hadassah Cardiologists Publicize Israel’s Dramatic Decrease in Cardiovascular Death

Prof. Emeritus Mervyn Gotsman and Prof. Israel Gotsman of Hadassah Hospital’s Heart Institute have coauthored an article which appeared in the European Heart Journal, highlighting the fact that “between 1998 and 2012, mortality from cardiovascular disease in Israel has fallen from 162 to 80 per 100,000 residents--a decrease of 50 percent.”

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Ambassadors of Health for Heart Smart Living: A Unique Hadassah Program

Knowing that the workplace is where people spend vast quantities of time, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women launched a unique course to encourage heart healthy living—during the work day.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Hadassah Brings Health Empowerment to East Jerusalem

The increased incidence of diabetes in the Arab community, as well as the 60 percent higher rate of cardiovascular mortality among Arab women led the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women to develop a community-based program to cultivate leadership that embraces and advocates for healthy living which will reduce diabetes in this population.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More