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Archive for the Research Category

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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Fighting Blindness Gets Sheepish

A sheep in tall grass.We all know from the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” that “everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.” But what if the lamb had a vision-robbing retinal disease, making it challenging to find Mary prancing around a sunlit meadow, or catching some rays on the Jersey Shore?
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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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