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Dr. Steve Rose

Image of Dr. Stephen RoseAs the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ chief research officer, Dr. Stephen Rose – who prefers to be called Steve – is highly respected for his expertise, intelligence and tireless commitment to finding treatments and cures for vision-robbing retinal diseases. But it’s his accessibility and down-to-earth nature that stand out for many of his peers and Foundation members.

“With Steve, the door is always open. You can walk into his office at almost any time with a problem or an issue, and he is ready and willing to help,” says Dr. Brian Mansfield, the Foundation’s deputy chief research officer. “He also has a phenomenal memory and knowledge base to draw from. And in the event he doesn’t have an immediate answer for you, he’ll pick up the phone and reach out to his many friends and collaborators throughout the science community. The man is incredibly well-connected.”

Steve, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology and joined the Foundation in 2004, supervises its research efforts, which include awarding grants and facilitating clinical trials. He also manages the Science department and works closely with the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Directors and Science Liaison Committee. Before joining the Foundation, he served more than 14 years with the National Institutes of Health, where he led several divisions, including genetics, clinical research and transplantation studies. He’s also a member of many prominent scientific and research organizations, including: the Health Research Alliance, the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Association of Immunologists.

Despite his background, Steve has a knack for explaining scientific concepts and retinal research in terms that everyone understands, making him a popular speaker at Foundation and retinal-field events. Bill Schmidt, the Foundation’s chief executive officer, appreciates Steve for, among other things, his enthusiasm. “There’s no one more passionate about retinal research,” Bill says, “and he does all he can to ensure that the Foundation supports only the best projects — those with strong sight-saving potential. There’s no better advocate for those who’ve lost or are losing their sight, and our recent success in driving research into the clinic is great evidence of that.”

The following articles were authored by Dr. Steve Rose

Gene Therapies for Stargardt Disease and Wet AMD Deemed Safe Thus Far

Researcher looking through microscopeIf you’re going on a cross-country road trip, the highlight of your journey is not the safety check. Putting air in the tires, topping off the brake and power-steering fluids, making sure the front and back lights are working properly and adjusting the mirrors are not cause for raucous celebration.
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A “Bigger Boat” – The Role of Nanoparticle Treatments

NanoparticlesAfter a rigorous review process, the Foundation is funding eight new research projects for a wide range of conditions, including Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). You can read about these exciting projects in an article recently posted on the Foundation’s homepage.

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Israeli Research Group Receives $1.33 Million to Advance Stem Cell Treatment

Dr. Benjamin Reubinoff

I was heartened to just learn that researchers from the Hadassah-Hebrew Medical Center in Jerusalem are receiving a $1.33 million grant from the Israeli government to advance their development of a stem cell treatment for people with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD Hadassah is also funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness. We are providing the group with a three-year, $300,000 grant for development of stem cell therapies.

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Tempering the Immune System to Save Vision

A retina with dry AMD. The yellow spots (called drusen) accumulate and can cause damage in AMD. The human body has highly impressive mechanisms to protect itself from harm. For example, a group of molecules known as the complement system work with antibodies to kill invading bacteria by punching holes in them and letting the internal contents leak out.
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Retina International Congress Features Reports on Latest Research Advances

A transcorneal electrical stimulation device developed by Okuvision GmbHThis past weekend, I had the pleasure and the privilege of participating in the 17th International Congress of Retina International in Hamburg, Germany. Retina International is a volunteer association of 33 national groups for people with retinal degenerations.  The Congress is the European equivalent of the Foundation’s VISIONS conference. With research presentations translated into several languages, I felt like I was at the United Nations. I myself presented (in English) an update and review of many of the clinical trials underway for retinal degenerative diseases.
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Tiny Implantable Telescope Can Restore Some Central Vision in AMD

Implantable Miniature TelescopeThe ideal way to deal with a disease like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is to prevent it from causing vision loss in the first place. For example, Dr. Barbel Rohrer is developing a Foundation-funded drug that slows retinal degeneration, and resulting vision loss, by bolstering the energy supply of cells in the retina.
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Energized and Inspired by the Usher Syndrome Family Conference

VISIONS Guest and Tactile InterpreterLast weekend, I had the privilege of presenting at the third annual Usher Syndrome Family Conference in St. Louis. And while updating the attendees on the latest research was fulfilling, listening to the parents’ panel talk about how Usher syndrome has affected their families was quite moving.
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Your Gene is Their Business

Dr. Stephen Daiger (standing, left) and Dr. Rose speak with a Foundation member after the session. Most everyone with an inherited retinal degenerative condition eventually asks the questions, “How do I find out what gene is causing my disease, and how can that information help me today?”

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Overcoming the Challenge of Getting Vision-Saving Treatments to the Retina

McGinnisThe diameter of the human eye is only about an inch, but for people with retinal degenerations, it can seem like a million miles.
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Which Research Projects Will Make the Cut?

Dr. Eric Pierce, chairman of the SAB, and Amy Laster, FFB's grants and awards program managerWhen the VISIONS 2012 conference began yesterday, the Foundation’s Science Department’s intensive work had already begun. On Wednesday afternoon, we put 15 members of our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) in a meeting room at the hotel under lock and key. For the next 24 hours, we gave them only bread and water, forbidding access to friends and loved ones, and, perhaps most Draconian, we cut off their wi-fi access.
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