Injection of amplified DNA into optic nerve results in improved vision in blind patients

April 6, 2008

The injection of DNA into the optic nerve resulted in light perception vision in patients with no light perception and very low vision, according to Sunita Agarwal, MD.

The injection of DNA into the optic nerve resulted in light perception vision in patients withno light perception and very low vision, according to Sunita Agarwal, MD.

Dr. Agarwal, from Agarwal's Group of Eye Hospitals, Chennai, India, reported on five patientswho have been treated with DNA injections. The DNA was amplified to more than 100 µm bymanipulation with an injection of a biotech product (MANA) that was added to the patients'plasma under a microscope.

"This formulation has the advantage of layering on the patient's DNA molecule and amplifying itfrom a 0.0001-µm particle of DNA in the blood to over 100 µm using MANA. It is not achemical, pharmaceutical, or an animal product," she explained.

The DNA is picked up using a 5-µm cannula and loaded into a 10-microliter syringe with a33- or 36-gauge needle. The patients who have either no vision or very low visionreceived intrapapillary injections of the customized MANA through the pars plana into the opticnerve. Dr. Agarwal first used this technique in animals a decade ago and progressed to patients5 years ago.

Four patients had optic atrophy; three of these had no perception of light and one had handmovement vision near the face. The fifth patient had age-related macular degeneration. Patientswere examined 30 minutes after the procedure, for the next 10 days, and 1 month after theprocedure, according to Dr. Agarwal.

Of the four cases of the optic nerve disorders, two improved from no light perception toperception of light. One patient remained the same as before the procedure. The patient withhand movement vision near the face progressed to 6/60 vision.

"Amazingly, patients who had had no light perception for a long period gained light perceptionwithin seconds and minutes following an injection into the optic nerve," she said. "Theseinjections of DNA showed phenomenal results unparalleled in the history ofophthalmology."