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Archive for the FFB on the Road Category

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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ARVO 2016: High-School Sophomore Finds Gene Mutation in Family with Choroideremia

Aditya A. Guru explaining his posterWhile I was perusing posters on genetic research in the exhibit hall at the ARVO annual meeting, Radha Ayyagari, Ph.D., an FFB-funded genetic scientist from the University of California, San Diego took me by the arm and said, “Come with me. There’s something you really need to see.”
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ARVO 2016: Emerging Drug Targets Toxic Build-Up in Stargardt Disease

Dr. Hendrik Scholl at ARVO 2016.Like many diseases affecting the macula, the center of the retina, Stargardt disease is a waste-management problem. The “garbage” comes from the processing of vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for vision. If you think of the retina as the engine for vision, vitamin A is the fuel; it enables the retina to convert light into the electrical signals that enable vision. And just like gasoline, which produces exhaust, vitamin A, when metabolized, leads to undesirable by-products.
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ARVO 2016: What Does It Take to Develop a Stem-Cell Therapy for the Retina?

Drs. Jeffrey Stern and Sally TempleThe effort to restore vision lost to retinal diseases using stem cells can sound so tantalizing simple. The researcher gets some stem cells, turns them into retinal cells, puts them in the patient’s retina to replace lost cells and—voila!—the patient can see again.
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ARVO 2016: ProgSTAR, FFB-CRI’s Stargardt Disease Patient Study, Highlighted

Janet Cheetham, ProgSTAR's liaison to FFBOne of the hot topics at ARVO 2016 is ProgSTAR, the natural history study for people with Stargardt disease funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness Clinical Research Institute (FFB-CRI). I caught up with Janet Cheetham, Pharm.D., the project’s liaison to FFB, to explain why the effort is important to therapy development. Having spent more than three decades in the development of retinal and ophthalmological treatments at Allergan, she brings a wealth of insight and knowledge to her role.
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ARVO 2016: Choroideremia Gene Therapy in Clinical Trial Continues to Perform Well

Dr. Robert MacLaren during surgery. The annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Seattle won’t start for another three days, but already there’s exciting research news to report. Five of six patients in NightStaRx’s choroideremia gene-therapy trial at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, which began in 2013, continue to benefit from the treatment.
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VISIONS 2015, Faces of VISIONS – Carol Brill

Carol Brill“If one person’s giving me a hard time, I’m not going to let him ruin my day,” says Carol Brill. “I always remember there are seven billion other people in the world who can make me happy.”
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VISIONS 2015 – Dr. José Sahel Receives Foundation’s Most Prestigious Research Honor

Dr. SahelI’ve known Dr. José Sahel for more than a decade, and every time I’m with him, I’m impressed by his humility and graciousness. He’s not much for rhetoric or small talk, but is always polite and insightful. Dr. Sahel is also very soft-spoken, but I think that’s his secret weapon. He forces you to really listen to what he’s saying.
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VISIONS 2015 – Dr. Shannon Boye Receives FFB Award for Excellence in Gene-Therapy Research

Shannon Boye accepting the awardWhen it comes to developing innovative gene therapies for retinal diseases, few researchers are doing more than Shannon Boye, Ph.D., and her laboratory staff of 10 at the University of Florida. In addition to advancing a gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by GUCY2D mutations toward a human study, Dr. Boye and her team are enhancing gene-delivery systems by making them safer to administer and able to carry larger payloads than current systems.
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