How a blind patient partially recovered his sight thanks to gene therapy


DECRYPTION – His retinal cells have been “reprogrammed” and he was able to see simple objects again. Explanations.

Optogenetics has revolutionized experimental neuroscience since the 2000s by enabling neurons previously genetically modified to be made sensitive to light to be activated with a simple light signal. But few were those who thought then that this technique, which required the introduction of optical fibers into the brains of animals, could one day be “diverted” to restore sight to a blind patient, even partially. Yet it is this feat that has just been achieved by an international team made up of researchers from the Institut de la vision (Sorbonne University-Inserm-CNRS), the Quinze-Vingts hospital in Paris, the Institut d ‘ Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology of Basel (IOB), University of Pittsburgh and GenSight Biologics.

“I have always been very interested in experimental neuroscience, but what has always guided me is to meet the needs of patients”, emphasizes José-Alain Sahel, founder of

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