The team, headed by Dr. Zhuo-Hua Pan, Ph.D., has developed therapies that may offer relief to patients suffering from blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which have so far been incurable. AMD causes the macula, the light-sensitive tissue in the retina which allows you to see fine details, to break down. RP also affects the retina and causes such symptoms as tunnel vision and night blindness. Dr. Pan's therapy delivers a green algae photoreceptor gene, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) to the retina. The gene causes inner retinal neurons to become light sensitive, which restored light responses in the visual cortex of the brain. The team has targeted late 2013 to early 2014 for clinical trials.
The patent will cover methods of vision restoration using the molecules ChR2 and Halorhodopsin and targeting the molecules with cell specific promoters.
Visit http://www.retro-sense.com/development.html for updates on development.