October 22, 2021

Beyond Going Long

Complete UK News World

CRISPR gene-editing trial restores vision for partially blind patients: the shots

Carlene Knight, who has a congenital eye disorder, has volunteered to let doctors edit genes in her retina using CRISPR technology.

Franny White / Ohso

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Franny White / Ohso

Carlene Knight, who has a congenital eye disorder, has volunteered to let doctors edit genes in her retina using CRISPR technology.

Franny White / Ohso

Carlin Knight’s vision was so bad that she couldn’t even walk around the call center where she works with her crutches.

“I got into the booths and really terrified those sitting in them,” says Knight, who was born with a rare genetic eye disease.

However, this has changed as a result of volunteering to complete the medical trial. Her vision has improved so much that she can make doors, walkways, see objects, and even see colors.

“It’s okay. I don’t fear people and I don’t have many wounds on my body,” Knight laughs.

Knight is one of seven patients with rare eye diseases who have voluntarily asked doctors to edit their DNA by injecting a revolutionary CRISPR gene-editing tool directly into cells in their bodies. Knight and another volunteer from the study gave exclusive interviews to NPR about their experiences.

This is the first time scientists have worked with CRISPR in this way. Previous experiments removed cells from patients’ bodies, conditioned them in a laboratory, and then returned the treated cells to patients.