We must identify the exact genetic profile of each individual in the Irish population affected by a retinal degenerative condition, of which it is estimated, there are 5,000. Only because of patients volunteering in previous studies do we have the current understanding of retinal conditions today.
Researchers funded by Fighting Blindness were the first in the world to discover the gene responsible for the condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Since then we have relentlessly pursued solutions to different causes of blindness and are now close to cures for some sight loss conditions.
Clinical trials are medical research studies in which people volunteer to participate. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to find treatments that work in people. A clinical trial is used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new procedure, medication or device to prevent, diagnose or treat an eye disease or disorder.
The theory behind gene therapy is to treat the disease by repairing the abnormal gene. This is achieved by replacing the disease causing faulty gene with a “normal” copy into an individual’s cells. The most successful method to deliver the gene to the cells is by using a virus that has been genetically modified to carry human DNA.