Recently, there have been revolutions in the development of both gene medicine therapy and genome surgical treatments for inherited disorders. Much of this progress has been centered on hereditary retinal dystrophies, because the eye is an immune-privileged and anatomically ideal target. Gene therapy treatments, already demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in numerous clinical trials, are benefitting from the development of new viral vectors, such as dual and triple adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors. CRISPR/Cas9, which revolutionized the field of gene editing, is being adapted into more precise “high fidelity” and catalytically dead variants. Newer CRISPR endonucleases, such as CjCas9 and Cas12a, are generating excitement in the field as well. Stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising alternative, allowing human embryo-derived stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to be edited precisely in vitro and then reintroduced into the body. This article highlights recent progress made in gene therapy and genome surgery for retinal disorders, and it provides an update on precision medicine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treatment trials.
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