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Seeing the Light: Optogenetic Technology Holds Promise for Treating Human Blindness

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via MIT News

April 20, 2011

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There are more than 1 million blind people in the U.S., and about 100,000 of those lost their sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that destroys light-sensitive cells in the retina.

There is currently no cure for retinitis pigmentosa, but scientists are working on ways to restore vision by making other cells of the retina, which are spared by the disease, sensitive to light. In a new study of mice, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) used technology developed by a consortium of institutions, including MIT, to do just that. By inducing light sensitivity in other cells of the retina, they brought back enough vision for the mice to navigate a maze.

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