Narrator: This is Science Today. An engineered virus that can easily and effectively deliver corrective genes to eye cells could greatly expand gene therapy and restore sight to patients with blinding diseases, including age-related macular degeneration. Researcher Dave Schaffer of the University of California, Berkeley, explains that the current delivery method, called subretinal injection, can cause retinal detachment and not all of the cells are reached.
Schaffer: So, we created a virus where with very simple route of administration, we could end up delivering genes very efficiently to those very difficult to reach neurons, those photoreceptors. And, as a result, repair them. This would involve a local anesthetic, something given for example with an eye drop, a very simple injection into the inside of the eye and the whole thing would take something around 15 minutes. It's very different from the other procedure in that it's not involving an injection all the way to the back of the eye and through the back of the eye.
Narrator: The next steps are to work with physicians to get this closer to clinical trial. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.