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Archive for the News Commentary Category

First Usher Syndrome Gene Therapy Patient in the News

Image of Test TubeI was very heartened to hear about and then see a recent news story on the first patient to be treated in the Usher syndrome 1B gene therapy clinical trial at Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University. When I saw the big smile on the face of Michelle Kopf, the young woman featured in the article, it brought a smile to my face.
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Stepping Lively – a Shoe in Development for the Visually Impaired

Walking ShoesAmazing what a little ingenuity, coupled with a basic need, can make happen. Twenty-four-year-old Anirudh Sharma, a computer engineer from India, has, according to a recent article in The Economist, come up with a design for a shoe that would help the visually impaired get where they need to go – without a cane, a dog or any other form of assistance.
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Retinal Research Developments Go Mainstream (at The Wall Street Journal)

Lab BeakersWe, at Eye on the Cure, like to keep folks up-to-date on the latest retinal research developments, as soon as they’re vetted – meaning verified as legitimate – and/or come in. But we also appreciate when the mainstream media chimes in, especially when they cite the Foundation’s efforts and expertise.

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A Woman With Stargardt Disease Pursues the Miss USA Title

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Connor Boss
What a difference a year makes. Last year, competing in the teen category of the Miss Florida USA pageant, Connor Boss stumbled on a set of stairs while making her way to the stage. Only family and friends knew the reason why. This year, the 18-year-old will compete in the same pageant as an adult. And thanks to ABC’s Good Morning America, she’ll do so as someone known to have Stargardt disease.
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Rockin’ and Rollin’ for a Good Cause

Andy and Kim HilfigerWell, this is a first: the Foundation was mentioned, this week, in Rolling Stone magazine. Why? Because one of our fundraising dinner events, “Fashion Ball: Dining in the Dark,” brought together professionals from both the fashion and music industries at the The Plaza Hotel in New York City and raised more than $370,000.

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Drawing Parallels Between Retinal and Non-Retinal Diseases

Test tube bottles

Back in February, in a post noting Rare Disease Day, I mentioned how the Foundation’s research has applications that go beyond our purview, mainly because the retina is, in fact, neural tissue, or an extension of the brain. So some treatments we fund may someday help people with conditions unrelated to the eye.
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Another Promising Bionic Retina

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Video Screenshot
Last February, I blogged about the emergence of “bionic” or artificial retinas for restoring some vision in people who are blind from retinal diseases. In that post, I featured Second Sight’s vision-restoring device, the Argus II, which is now on
the market in Europe and, hopefully, soon in the United States.
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An Incremental but Important Step in Stem Cell Transplantation

A highly-magnified image of photoreceptors, also known as rods and cones, in the human retina.

A highly-magnified image of photoreceptors, also known as rods and cones, in the human retina.

So, here I am catching up on some journal reading, when Nature sends out an eblast touting new exciting advances in stem cell work, including a paper about the eye. Of course, I immediately jump to the site and find a research paper published online that reports on the modestly successful transplantation of precursor rod cells — cells that are more developed than stem cells but not quite mature rod cells — into mice with night blindness (congenital stationary night blindness). While vision improvement was not dramatic, the treated mice did see better in dim lighting; they were able to navigate a water maze in greatly reduced light much better than untreated mice. Continue Reading…

We’ve Been Googled

Sergey Brin wearing the Google Glass  prototype Although I wasn’t in attendance, there’s quite a buzz on the internet and across social-media channels today about the Foundation’s San Francisco Dining in the Dark Visionary Awards Dinner last night. It seems that Google co-founder Sergey Brin attended wearing a prototype of the Project Glass eyewear that Google has been developing. Brin’s debut of the glasses was cause for high-tech blogger Robert Scoble to actually post during the event.
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Researchers Find 50 Genes Linked to AMD, But What Does It Really Mean?

Image of blue DNA strandThanks to Paul Simon, we know there are “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” and now, thanks to research highlighted in the journal Genome Medicine, there are 50 newly identified genes that may be linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Back in February, some in the media covered this development because AMD affects more than 10 million people in the U.S. alone, and 50 genes, is, well, a lot of genes to be linked to one disease.
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