Blind man's sight partially restored with pioneering gene therapy

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Researchers in France used a new gene therapy to partially restore a blind man's sight for the first time, according to a study published May 24 in Nature Medicine.

Their work marks the first published study documenting successful use of the treatment, which has been 13 years in the making, according to The New York Times.

The 58-year-old French man who participated in the study had an inherited form of blindness. 

When wearing special light-stimulating goggles, the man was able to perceive and locate objects sitting in front of him on a table.

The gene therapy technique, called optogenetics, entails transforming the eye's ganglion cells into photoreceptor cells that can detect light by using proteins derived from algae and other microbes. 

Researchers said the study establishes proof of concept for future treatments for inherited forms of blindness. 

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