June 13, 2013 –
Researchers led by Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering David Schaffer and colleagues have developed improved gene insertion techniques that could expand gene therapy to help restore sight to patients with blinding diseases.
The team has designed an easier and more effective method to deliver viruses carrying normal genes to damaged areas of the retina. Current gene delivery treatments attempt to inject the virus directly into the retina of the eye, with limited success. The new treatment uses a variant of a common benign virus that has been engineered to penetrate the retina, and can be injected easily outside the retina.
Schaffer and John Flannery, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and of vision science, along with colleagues from UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester in New York, published the results of their study June 12 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Read more about this groundbreaking work at the UC Berkeley News Center.