March 21, 2016
(MIT Technology Review) – A blind woman in Texas is the first person to undergo therapy based on an emerging technology called optogenetics. If successful, the therapy will create light-sensing cells in one of her eyes and enable her to see again. This patient and others being recruited for a clinical trial have a degenerative disease called retinitis pigmentosa. In this disease, the light-sensitive cells of the retina gradually die off. These cells pass electrical signals on to nerves that convey them to the brain.
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