Gene therapy gives hope to visually impaired

Gene therapy gives hope to visually impaired

Steven Howarth

Steven Howarth has seen a big improvement in night vision

Scientists in Britain and America have managed to reverse the declining vision of patients using a new gene therapy technique.

They have done it by regenerating faulty or dying light detecting cells in the eye.

The most dramatic success story is that of a 17-year-old man, Steven Howarth, who was treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

The BBC's Science Correspondent, Pallab Ghosh, was given an exclusive interview by Mr Howarth.

A diagram of the gene therapy procedure

A missing gene is injected into the eye within a modified virus

The World Today asked Pallab Ghosh what state Mr Howarth's vision had been in before the gene therapy.

Listen Listen to Pallab Ghosh (4 mins 11 secs)

To get more information on the procedure, the World Today spoke to Professor Robin Ali, who is the chief investigator on the project.

Listen Listen to Professor Ali (3 mins 16 secs)

Watch the maze video Professor Ali was talking about here (23 secs)

First broadcast 28 April 2008