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Optogenetic Therapy Takes First Step Forward in Clinical Trial

Retrosense logoRetroSense Therapeutics has reported that three participants have received injections of its potential optogenetic therapy, known as RST-01, in a Phase I/II clinical trial. The patients were given the lowest dose of RST-01, and no adverse ocular events were observed. Furthermore, the treatment showed some biological activity, though RetroSense did not provide details about what that activity was or what it meant.

More information on safety and efficacy will likely be reported about the RetroSense trial after more trial participants have been observed over a longer period of time, and after discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Continue Reading…

Pixium Vision Reports Progress in Development of Two Advanced Bionic Retina Systems

Man wearing Pixium Bionic Retina GlassesWhile several companies and laboratories around the world are at various stages of bionic-retina development, Pixium Vision  located in France, is progressing impressively down two paths for these high-tech, vision-restoring systems. Both approaches show strong, near-term potential for providing meaningful vision to people who are otherwise blind from retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Pixium recently announced that its IRIS®II bionic vision system received a CE Mark, the regulatory approval necessary for marketing medical devices and other products in Europe. The IRIS II is further down the company’s clinical development pipeline than its more technologically advanced PRIMA system, which was originally conceptualized by researchers at Stanford University, and is expected to enter a clinical trial later this year for AMD.

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Artist with Usher Syndrome Excited to Register on My Retina Tracker to Drive Retinal Research

Artis Dana Simon at work.In a post at asharedvision.com, artist Dana Simon describes her experience with My Retina Tracker, a free and secure online registry for people with inherited retinal diseases. My Retina Tracker provides researchers with invaluable information that helps them study retinal diseases, and informs patients when their profile matches clinical-trial criteria. Examples of Dana’s artwork can be found on her website.

Stem-Cell Therapy for Retinitis Pigmentosa Safe Thus Far in Early Human Study

Dr. Klassen in his labAn emerging stem-cell-derived treatment designed to preserve and potentially restore vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) has demonstrated a favorable safety profile in an ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial at the University of California, Irvine. The therapy is being developed by the regenerative medicine company jCyte with trial funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Earlier research funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness helped advance this therapeutic approach toward a human study.

Given this trial is one of the first-ever for a stem-cell-derived therapy for RP, this safety report is good news and an important step in the right direction. We at the Foundation look forward to additional reports from this study in the coming years as the trial advances.

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VISIONS 2016 – Keynote Speaker Dartanyon Crockett on Fear and Courage

Dartanyon CrockettAlmost from the start, the cards were stacked against Dartanyon Crockett. He was diagnosed, at an early age, with Leber’s disease, which caused him to be legally blind. At the age of 8, he lost his mother. And by middle school, he was relentlessly teased for being visually impaired.
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VISIONS 2016 – Dr. Richard Weleber Receives FFB’s Highest Research Honor, Recognized in Touching Video

Dr. Richard WeleberConsidering all that Richard Weleber, M.D., has accomplished over four decades —
including leadership and oversight of clinical trials for emerging retinal-disease therapies and innovations in retina imaging and functional evaluation at the world-renowned Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University — it comes as no surprise that he’s been given FFB’s Llura Liggett Gund Award for career achievement. Dr. Weleber became the 10th recipient of the Foundation’s highest honor, named after FFB co-founder Lulie Gund, during the opening lunch of the VISIONS 2016 conference.
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VISIONS 2016 – Dr. Shomi Bhattacharya Wins FFB Award for Gaining an Understanding of Variations in Vision Loss

Dr. Shomi BhattacharyaInherited retinal conditions such as Stargardt disease and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) run in families. The diseases in some families span several generations with dozens of affected members. In other cases, a disease may only affect one or more siblings within a single generation. Researchers have understood the nature of these different inheritance patterns fairly well for several decades.
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Back in Baltimore – VISIONS 2016, FFB’s National Conference, Returns to Its Founding City

Baltimore's Inner HarborFor the second year in a row, the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ national conference — this year titled VISIONS 2016 — will take place in FFB’s founding city of Baltimore, Maryland, June 30-July 3. More than 500 people are expected to attend the event, which will offer dozens of research- and lifestyle-focused sessions designed for people who are visually impaired and sighted as well.
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Two Philanthropic Brothers – Selling Luxury Casual Wear for the Good of Retinal Research

Bryan and Bradford Manning in New York City.Bradford Manning and his brother, Bryan, have a great sense of humor. You can see it in the video for their new clothing line, Two Blind Brothers — which donates its proceeds to retinal research — and hear it when you talk to Bradford over the phone.
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A Steady Hand in Saving Vision

Dr. Robert MacLaren performing eye surgery.A retinal researcher can develop the best vision-saving stem-cell or gene therapy ever imagined, but if the doctor or surgeon can’t deliver it to the retina safely and effectively, the treatment is worthless. It could even be harmful.
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