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Fighting Blindness Goes Prime Time with Charlie Rose

It’s not every day that a national television talk show devotes an entire hour to retinal degenerative diseases and the research to overcome them, but that’s exactly what Charlie Rose did on his program last week.

For me, as a scientist, I was thrilled that Charlie and his guests took time to dig into the science, and explain what the retina is, how it works, and how gene, stem-cell and prosthetic therapies are emerging to save vision. The show is a good introduction for those new to the retina, and a nice refresher for people with some familiarity.

Most excitingly, the program featured some top-notch retinal researchers including: gene-therapy pioneer Jean Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., who’s clinical trial for Leber congenital amaurosis has led to dramatic vision improvements in children and young adults who were virtually blind; Steven Schwartz, M.D., who is helping to lead Advanced Cell Technology’s clinical trial of a stem-cell-based therapy for Stargardt disease and age-related macular degeneration; and Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., of Retina Implant AG, which is conducting a clinical trial of a vision-restoring bionic retina for people.

While the program did not mention the Foundation Fighting Blindness directly, much of the gene-therapy and stem-cell research referenced was made possible by our funding. Our support for Dr. Bennett continues today though funding of the FFB Center Grant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Watch the video here.

I have to admit that it would be exciting for me someday to be on Charlie’s show — to go Rose to Rose — but as long as Foundation-funded research is getting the attention it deserves, I’m a happy camper.

Photo: Dr. Jean Bennett


2 Responses to 'Fighting Blindness Goes Prime Time with Charlie Rose'

  1. JOSE SANCHEZ says:

    Hi my fiance just found out that she has Stargardt’s they have been wondering for years what she had… she is now 30… we just moved to Roanoke Virginia is there anything we can do

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      You will be happy to know that the Foundation Fighting Blindness is partnering with Sanofi to conduct a gene therapy clinical trial for Stargardt disease in Oregon and Paris, France. For more information on this trial, see the following link:
      http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01367444?term=stargardt&recr=Open&no_unk=Y&rank=2

      Before one can participate in any gene therapy trial they must first obtain a molecular (genetic) diagnosis. For information on genetic testing, please see the following web link to download a PDF document:
      http://www.blindness.org/sites/default/files/genetic_testing_booklet_201311rev.pdf

      “My Retina Tracker” is a free registry that can help people find out about clinical trials that are recruiting. For more information on “My Retina Tracker” please see the following web link: https://www.myretinatracker.org/

      To learn more about the progression of Stargardt disease, The Foundation Fighting Blindness is also conducting a natural history study, referred to as PROSTAR. For more information on PROGSTAR, please see the following link: http://progstar.org/

      You may be interested to know that there is a “Stargardt – Macular Degeneration” Facebook page where you can communicate with other families affeced by Stargardt disease. Here is the link:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/Stargardts/

      To learn more about the progression of Stargardt disease, The Foundation Fighting Blindness is also conducting a natural history study, referred to as PROSTAR. For more information on PROGSTAR, please see the following link: http://progstar.org/

      You may be interested to know that there is a “Stargardt – Macular Degeneration” Facebook page where you can communicate with other families affeced by Stargardt disease. Here is the link:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/Stargardts/

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