With an aging population, the real and sad fact remains that age related conditions will inflict many thousands of the population and the treatments required to assist ease of living in our twilight years are the very research topics that are taking place right now by scientists and health staff across the globe. In Australia alone, there has been an ongoing gene therapy research program that already spans two decades which due to its successful progressive nature has already progressed to live human trials.The program that involves just forty patients has been looking into effective treatment for wet age related macular degeneration which is currently treated via injection that is repeated every month. Wet age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, and in Australia alone around one hundred and ten thousand people are diagnosed with having the condition. The monthly injections cost the tax payers between five and six billion dollars a year, worldwide.
The Australian pioneering gene therapy research team from Perth have now attracted $80 million dollars from overseas investors in the States for a treatment that promises to be revolutionary which involves a single injection for the patient that contains a healthy human gene carried via a harmless virus directly into the cells of the retina.
The DNA becomes absorbed into the cells that are genetically defected and allow them to start producing an antidote for the over production of harmful proteins produced by the damaged cells.
With no reported side effects from the second phase of clinical trials the researchers will now invite1000 American patients to participate in phase three of the trial. Rights to the therapy have been licensed by US company Avalanche Biotechnologies.