Since 1985, the Körber Foundation in Hamburg has been awarding a prestigious prize to scientists whose work has applied futuristic techniques to physical sciences. This year, the Körber Prize for European Science 2020 was awarded to Hungarian researcher Botond Roska, who uncovered a gene-based therapy that reprograms cells in the human eye so that they can perform the work of the light-sensitive receptors needed for human vision, according to the foundation.
It is hoped that the procedure will reactivate the retinas of the blind, effectively restoring sight. The treatment has already entered clinical trials and is helping create a level of vision for blind participants that is similar to watching television in black and white—though the hope is to eventually restore vision perfectly.
“Roska’s research has woken up hope that new treatment methods might restore the ability to see in the blind,” said Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher at the ceremony on Monday.
Considering the millions of people around the world who suffer from blindness, it’s hard to understate just how impactful Roska’s gene-based treatment could be. As always, we’ll be keeping tabs on his research and informing our readers when more is known.