Another World First: Gene Therapy for Macular Degeneration

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British woman has synthetic gene injected into her eye.

A British woman has become the first person in the world to undergo gene therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), The Telegraph reports.

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in the developed world.Surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK, inserted a synthetic gene into the left eye of Janet Osborne, 80, who suffers from AMD.

Around 600,000 people in the UK are affected by AMD, which affects the central part of a patient’s vision with gaps or ‘smudges,’ making everyday activities like reading and recognising faces difficult.

Mrs. Osborne has AMD in both eyes but it is more advanced in the left. She struggles to prepare food, sew and read.

She says her motivation for taking part in the trial was the possibility of helping others with AMD: “I wasn’t thinking of me. I was thinking of other people,” she told The Telegraph.

“For me, I hope my sight doesn’t get any worse. That would be fantastic. It means I wouldn’t be such a nuisance to my family.”

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