All male squirrel monkeys are naturally red-green color blind. Gene therapy has successfully restored vision of 2 male squirrel monkeys.
Researchers have used gene therapy to restore colour vision in two adult monkeys that have been unable to distinguish between red and green hues since birth — raising the hope of curing colour blindness and other visual disorders in humans.
The problem with gene therapy is cancer risk. Whenever scientists figure out how to delivery gene therapy safely lots of diseases will become treatable. But when will that happen? Seems like a real hard problem. The Nature article above reports on 3 gene therapy phase 1 trials for underway in humans for retinal regeneration. I'd be curious to know what the scientists involved in these trials see as risks.
Most striking, says Ali, is the discovery that the brains and retinas of the adult monkeys weren't too "hard-wired" or fixed to respond to the treatment. "What's so exciting about this study is that is demonstrates there's more plasticity in the brain and cone cells than we thought," says Ali. "It forces us to reconsider our assumptions, and opens up more possibilities than we thought for treating blindness."
What I want to know: If gene therapy was used to add a 4th and 5th pigment could humans gain the ability to see a wider range of colors? Just what would the additional colors look like?
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 September 17 07:34 AM Biotech Gene Therapy|