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New NIH Institute Accelerating Sight-Saving Research to the Clinic

NCATS at the NIH helps move retinal research projects toward clinical trials. When it comes to advancing potential sight-saving treatments into human studies, collaborations and partnerships are critical to accelerating the research process. That’s why fighting blindness has always been a team effort for us.

As my boss, Bill Schmidt, chief executive officer of the Foundation, recently said, “It’s all about the leverage. It’s incumbent for our projects to attract outside investments and resources to move therapies into clinical trials as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence.”

We are particularly enthused about retinal-disease research support coming from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), one of the federal National Institutes of Health. It has become an invaluable partner in boosting the advancement of potential retinitis pigmentosa (RP) treatments being investigated by Don Zack, M.D., Ph.D., a Foundation–funded scientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. NCATS is providing advanced screening and testing resources that are taking several years off the therapy discovery and evaluation process. You can read more about this productive collaboration at the NCATS website.

NCATS, according to the site, is a major NIH initiative established in 2011 to “transform the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.” That, frankly, is music to our ears, and we are in discussions with the center to see how we can work together to advance more sighting-saving research in the near future.

Stay tuned for more updates on NCATS and its clinical-advancement initiatives.

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