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Gene therapy to treat retinal disorders

Special Correspondent
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Founder of L. V. Prasad Eye Institute Dr. Gullapalli Nageshwar Rao interacting with doctors in Hyderabad on Friday.-Photo: NAGARA GOPAL
Founder of L. V. Prasad Eye Institute Dr. Gullapalli Nageshwar Rao interacting with doctors in Hyderabad on Friday.-Photo: NAGARA GOPAL

Gene therapy to correct a rare retinal disorder affecting children will be taken up by the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), which is celebrating 25 years of providing eye care to people in the country.

According to Director of Research at LVPEI, Prof. D. Balasubramanian, monogenic retinal disorders would be targeted initially for gene therapy. He said that gene would be delivered to rectify one such congenital disorder, Leber congenital Amourosis (LCA) in which the child develops a blurred or tunnelling problem and gradually loses vision.

Gene delivery into the eye to treat such cases would be done in the next two years. Stem cell-based therapy to correct retinal diseases which account for 14-18 per cent of blindness would also get a push. Prof. Balasubramanian was addressing a press conference along with Dr. G. N. Rao, Founder-Chair, LVPEI in connection with the completion of 25 years of services provided by the prestigious eye institute.

Dr. Rao said that during the past 25 years, the institute had touched the lives of 1.5 crore (15 million) people in the country. It was now spread across 107 locations across the State and 89 of those were in remotest parts. With the prevalence of blindness around one per cent, Dr. Rao said that LVPEI through its 10 village vision complexes in the rural areas would strive to reduce the prevalence to 0.5 per cent by 2020.

As part of the silver jubilee celebrations, the institute organised a two-day international scientific meeting ‘Evidence 2012' on evidence-based ophthalmology. A commemorative book, ‘So that all may see', encapsulating its journey through the years was also brought out.


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