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FDA Approved Clinical Trial to Reverse Blindness
The Target is Blindness Caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa
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     Scientists, doctors, and technologists working in a relatively new area of biotechnology, called optogenetics, have successfully reversed some forms of blindness in animals. If the first FDA approved clinical trial of this optogenetics surgery stays on schedule, 15 blind patients might soon be able to see again.
     Time will tell if this surgery can partially restore some of the sight these participants lost to a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. The people who will be participating in this trial are all totally blind and have been this way for quite a long time.
     This column describes the original Stanford University breakthrough and how the technology is being used to medically reverse blindness. If the surgery is successful the patients will be able to see again; just not all of the colors of a rainbow. The step from animal testing to human trials is a major step forward and only possible because of how successful and safe it was in animals.
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