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Genetics

13 April 2011

To wish upon a Stargardt miracle

There is no cure for the degenerative eye disease, Stargardt's dystrophy. Now, new gene therapies are offering a flicker of hope, and South Africa is involved in the research.

There is no cure for the degenerative eye disease, Stargardt's dystrophy. Now, new gene therapies are offering a flicker of hope, and South Africa is involved in the research.

Approximately 3 000 South Africans suffer from the as yet incurable genetic eye condition known as Stargardt's dystrophy. And, with DNA screening underway with the eye on a possible gene therapy trial, a faint flicker of hope is emerging.

  • Stargardt's is a recessively inherited condition. This means that rather than replacing genes, the aim would be simply to introduce a new gene.
  • Stargardt's has been successfully treated in mice
  • Stargardt Dystrophy is diagnosed in very young people where gene therapy would be most effective.
  • The Microarray chip allows for rapid screening to find suitable patients for clinical trials.

 

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