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Posts tagged leber congenital amaurosis

FFB-Funded Scientists Report on Nine Promising Translational Research Efforts

Translational research — moving promising science out of laboratories and into clinical trials — is essential to getting vision-saving, retinal-disease treatments out to the millions who need them. With that said, translational research is also costly and high risk and requires extensive clinical development and regulatory knowledge.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness has taken the translational challenge head on by investing more than $75 million in therapy-development projects with strong clinical-trial potential through its Translational Research Acceleration Program (TRAP), which includes Gund-Harrington Scholar Awards.
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Clinical Trial Authorized in the U.S. for Emerging LCA 10 Therapy

ProQR, a biotechnology company in the Netherlands, has received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start a Phase I/II clinical trial for its therapy known as QR-110, which is being developed for Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA 10). The genetic retinal condition causes severe vision loss in children. QR-110 targets the specific mutation p.Cys998X in the CEP290 gene, also known as c.2991+1655A>G mutation. It is estimated that it affects about 2,000 people in the Western world.

QR-110 was a featured topic at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Baltimore, May 7-11. About 12,000 eye researchers and industry professionals attended the event.
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ID Your IRD: A Free Genetic Testing Program for Eligible People with Inherited Retinal Diseases


Genes are like the blueprint or code for determining who we are. We all have about 23,000 pairs of genes in most cells in our bodies. Many of our physical attributes — such as height, eye and hair color, and complexion — are determined by our genes.

However, certain misspellings, also known as mutations, in our genetic code can cause diseases or increase our risk for them. In fact, inherited retinal diseases are caused by mutations in single genes.
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Researchers Identify Canine Model of LCA (NPHP5) — Pursue Gene Therapy

Photo of William Beltran, Artur Cideciyan, Gustavo Aguirre and Samuel Jacobson. Photo by John Donges/Penn Vet

William Beltran, Artur Cideciyan, Gustavo Aguirre and Samuel Jacobson. Photo by John Donges/Penn Vet

When scientists embark on developing a treatment for an inherited retinal disease, one of their first tasks is to identify or create a model of the condition. Disease models can be cells in a Petri dish, a genetically engineered mouse or rat, or larger animal such as a pig. Each type of model has its pros and cons, including cost and similarity of disease characteristics to those in humans.

The investigators then use the model to study how vision is lost — that is, they figure out which types of retinal cells degenerate, what is causing the degeneration, and how quickly the cells stop working. After they gain an understanding of the disease, researchers evaluate potential therapeutic approaches using the model as a testing platform.

The goal: Move a therapy into a human study.
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For Rare Disease Day – The Many Benefits of Genetic Research

Rare Disease Day logoIt’s apropos that Rare Disease Day 2016 will be held on the rarest day on the calendar—Leap Day, February 29.

However, collectively, rare diseases are not uncommon. About 30 million Americans, nearly 10 percent of our population, are affected by one of 7,000 rare diseases. They’re an important public health issue, making it incumbent upon us to work hard to eradicate them.
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2015 Top 10 Retinal-Research Advances

Researcher in a labThe Foundation Fighting Blindness’ scientists, donors and volunteers made 2015 an outstanding year in our fight against blindness. As I tabulated the year’s top 10 research advances—all made possible through FFB funding—I realized that eight are for clinical trials of emerging therapies that are launching or underway.
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A Leap Forward: Spark Therapeutics Seeks FDA Approval for its Vision-Restoring Gene Therapy

Gene therapy recipient Yannick DuweWe’re approaching a critical milestone in the fight against blinding retinal diseases, and it has the potential to tremendously boost and accelerate the advancement of virtually all gene therapies in development for dozens of inherited retinal diseases.

Sometime in 2016, Spark Therapeutics will request marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its landmark gene therapy for retinal conditions caused by mutations in the gene RPE65, namely certain forms of Leber congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa.
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Gene Therapy Strengthens the Retina’s Connection to the Brain

diagram of brain affected by LCA therapyWhile we often think of the retina as that magical piece of tissue lining the back of the eye that makes vision possible, the brain is also an essential partner in the visual process. When light comes into the eye and is converted to electrical signals, those signals are sent through the optic nerve to the back of the brain, where they are transformed into the images we see. When children are born, pathways between the retina and the brain are in place, and, with increased interaction with the world, they become stronger over time.
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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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Promising Research Highlighted at Meeting of Retinal Gene Therapy Experts

genesWhen it comes to fighting blinding retinal diseases, nothing has been more exciting than the advancement of gene therapies into clinical trials. And, with human studies of gene therapies now underway for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA, RPE65 mutations), Usher syndrome type 1B, Stargardt disease, retinoschisis, choroideremia and retinitis pigmentosa (MERTK mutations), scientists are gaining new knowledge every day about the best technologies and methodologies for gene-therapy development.
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