Back in 2012, a team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, announced that they had cured X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa (XLRP), an early-onset degenerative retinal disease, in dogs. The study showed that their gene therapy was effective if used preventatively or at the immediate onset of photoreceptor cell death.
Building upon the success of their previous study, they have now announced that the form of gene therapy treatment they found to work is shown to be effective long term, even when the treatment is started in the mid- or late-stages of the disease.
X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa almost always occurs due to mutations in the RPGR gene which then causes progressive vision loss starting at a very young age.
The fact that it onsets so early makes it difficult to catch, which means this discovery is a HUGE step in helping countless dogs keep their eyesight. It's interesting to also note that, because XLRP is X-Linked, it overwhelming effects males.
The scientists hope to translate their findings to help humans who also suffer from degenerative blindness, and while we think that's pawsome, helping the dogs seems like a worthy cause all on it's own.
Featured image via Dogster
h/t Medical Xpress
For the official findings check this out.