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Gene therapy as a potential treatment for glaucoma

University of Bristol researchers have treated a mouse model of glaucoma using a single gene therapy injection

SP gene resized
Pixabay/Arek Socha
University of Bristol researchers have highlighted the potential of gene therapy in treating glaucoma.

Writing in Molecular Therapy, scientists described how CRISPR gene editing was used to inactivate a gene in the ciliary body of the eye, decreasing intraocular pressure.

Visiting senior research fellow at Bristol Medical School, Dr Colin Chu, said the team hoped to advance towards clinical trials of the therapy in the near future.

“If it's successful it could allow a long-term treatment of glaucoma with a single eye injection, which would improve the quality of life for many patients whilst saving the NHS time and money," Dr Chu said.

Researchers note that while eye drops are currently used to reduce intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients, the drops may have side effects and there are issues of patient compliance in administering the drops daily.

“Gene editing to provide a single but permanent therapeutic alteration is an appealing approach given glaucoma is a chronic disease that requires lifelong intervention,” the study authors emphasised.