Colorblindless Therapy Revealed by Leading University and Biotech Firm

June 12, 2015 Eye Associates

Colorblindness is a Real Eye Health Problem

Can you read the above number inside the circle? If so, great. If not, join the other ten (10) Million Americans today who suffer from colorblindness.

Colorblindness is a genetic disorder that affects both men and women wherein you have trouble distinguishing red from green or blue from yellow. It may  sound somewhat trivial that a person cannot distinguish colors correctly but actually colorblindness can be quite debilitating, creating real health and safety threats to the person afflicted.

Think about stop lights, traffic signals, signs and other day to day normal information we all process via color. For people afflicted with colorblindness, this information is invisible to them or at best, incoherent and confusing. At present, there is no treatment available for colorblindness.

Solving Colorblindness with Gene Therapy

However, new research conducted by Avalanche Biotechnologies and the University of Washington in Seattle hopes to change that and find a real solution to colorblindness. Together, these two organizations, utilizing a new gene therapy technique, plan to bring a treatment to the public for colorblindness.

Thomas Chalberg, the founder of Avalanche Biotechnologies said: “Our goal is to be treating colorblindness in clinical trials in patients in the next one to two years.”

The idea was first brought to fruition when two researchers at the University of Washington used gene therapy to fully cure colorblindness in squirrel monkeys. This paved the way for the two groups to start collaborating and ultimately looking to improve human eye health.

Making Sure the Therapy is Safe

Of course, the problem lies in developing a treatment that can be delivered safely, without complications involved in retina surgery and such. The team at Avalanche and the University of Washington are experimenting to create a commercialized gene therapy technique that would require a simple injection into the clear gel of (vitreous) that outlines most of the eyeball.

With a cure having the potential of helping millions of people, Chalberg states “People with this vision disorder have a very limited sensation. They can only see about 1 percent of the colors of a normal person. And so in some ways it’s actually closer to being blind than it is to being sighted.”


Learn more at the University of Washington Department of Ophthalmology Lab or Avalanche Biotechnologies.

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