Scientists made a huge step towards making the blind see, by using a form of gene therapy that does not involve the use of modified viruses.

Scientists said they used a non-viral, synthetic nanoparticle carrier to improve and save the sight of mice with retinitis pigmentosa, which is incurable. It is an inherited disease characterised by progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.

“We hope the results of our study will be instrumental in generating a cure for the debilitating blindness associated with retinitis pigmentosa and other inherited and acquired retinal diseases,” said Muna I. Naash, researcher and cell biologist at the University of Oklahoma.

“Compacted DNA nanoparticles are an exciting treatment strategy for these diseases and we look forward to exciting new developments,” added Naash, according to an Oklahoma release.

“Making the blind see was once called a miracle,” said Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, which published these findings.

“As we have expanded our understanding of evolution, genetics, and nanotechnology, chances are that ‘miraculous’ cures will become as commonplace as those claimed by faith-healers past and present,” added Weissmann.