Recent gene therapy progress has raised the possibility that vision loss caused by inherited retinal degeneration can be slowed or prevented. Unfortunately, patients are not usually diagnosed until enough degeneration has occurred that the deterioration in vision is noticeable. Therefore, effective gene therapy must halt degeneration to stabilize and preserve any remaining vision. Gene therapy methods currently in human clinical trials rely on subretinal or intravitreal injections of adeno-associated virus to deliver the therapeutic gene. To date, long-term results in patients treated with subretinal injections for Leber congenital amaurosis have been mixed. Proposed limitations include variability in the gene delivery method and a possible point of no return, at which treatment would be ineffective. In this issue of the
James B. Hurley, Jennifer R. Chao
Strategy that allows evaluation of the point of no return for gene therapy to treat retinal degeneration.