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Posts tagged rp

Low-Hanging Fruit: Repurposing Drugs to Treat Retinal Diseases

Low-hanging fruitMany years ago, while picking apples with my uncle, he advised me to “pick the low-hanging fruit.” That way, he told me, you can fill your basket faster and not be as tired at the end of the day. I think the same can be said of drug repurposing—the process of evaluating a drug prescribed for one disease to see if it can safely and effectively treat another disease.
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Giving Thanks

The Foundation gives thanks to its supporters.How do you thank the tens of thousands of people who’ve contributed in so many ways this past year – volunteer work, donations, research advances, etc. – to help FFB eradicate retinal diseases? Aside from giving a general shout-out to those folks (you know who you are, including Eye on the Cure readers), we can offer highlights, a sampling, if you will, of the many achievements Foundation supporters have helped make happen this past year.
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All-Star Vision

When the Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones makes a great catch — a feat the Gold Glove centerfielder accomplishes on a regular basis — he isn’t thinking about his retinas. But in the five seconds it takes a baseball to leave an opponent’s bat and reach Jones’ glove, his retinas are processing an enormous amount of real-time visual information — continual changes in the contrast, velocity and trajectory of the ball as it rockets out of the infield, reaches high into the stadium lights (or the sun) and descends into the outfield.
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RP Gene Therapy Clinical Trial Update from ARVO

Drs. Nicola Ghazi (left) and Doug Vollrath. I am always pleased to hear reports on human studies for retinal diseases. And such is the case with a research poster I just reviewed at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting. It described a new clinical trial underway for a potentially life-changing gene therapy for people with autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (MERTK mutations) taking place at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
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A New Therapeutic Trick for Old Dogs

an image of a retina, courtesy of Dr. Nicolás Cuenca, University of Alicante.A Foundation-funded research team at the University of Pennsylvania — in collaboration with scientists from Michigan State University, the University of Florida and the University of Miami — has found a remarkable way to restore function to fledgling cones, the retinal cells most critical to our daily lives. Drs. András Komáromy and Gutavo Aguirre injected a high dose of a protein called ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) into the eyes of older dogs with achromatopsia, a retinal disease that causes day blindness from cone dysfunction and degeneration. What happened next is extraordinary.
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What Losing Vision Has Taught Me

Image of Shawn MaloneyMy ophthalmologist’s voice was firm and direct. “You’re going blind.” Tough words for a 5-year-old to digest.

Years later — despite efforts to cure my retinal disease, first as a graduate student, then as a postdoctoral researcher focused on ocular pathology — I came to accept the truth that those words carried. I was slowly being forced to adapt to a world not designed for me, or for any visually impaired person. But the progressive nature of my disease, retinitis pigmentosa, meant that time was on my side. I had time to change how I do things, how I communicate, how I think.
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History in the Making

Argus II Fundus ImageWhen it comes to restoring vision in people with retinal diseases, history isn’t made overnight. Treatments and technological advances have to, first, be tested in labs, and then in clinical, or human, trials. And how quickly they move through the process depends on how readily they’re funded, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. So, making a treatment or device available to the general public takes years, if not decades. Which is why we, at FFB, are so excited about last week’s announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted market approval of the Argus II retinal prosthesis.
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Kicking Off a Charitable Season

Ryan Lochte, I didn’t get a chance to meet. I did, however, get a picture taken with Michael J. Fox, who was very cordial but focused most of his attention—and rightly so—on a little girl with muscular dystrophy. Now, actor Steve Buscemi is a character and a half. I was there with Leah Bartos, who’s Mrs. New York, and because I’m Mrs. World, and the two of us were wearing crowns and sashes, he took a look at us and, before a photo was snapped, said, “Wow, let me get in between these two ladies.”
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Retina International Congress Features Reports on Latest Research Advances

A transcorneal electrical stimulation device developed by Okuvision GmbHThis past weekend, I had the pleasure and the privilege of participating in the 17th International Congress of Retina International in Hamburg, Germany. Retina International is a volunteer association of 33 national groups for people with retinal degenerations.  The Congress is the European equivalent of the Foundation’s VISIONS conference. With research presentations translated into several languages, I felt like I was at the United Nations. I myself presented (in English) an update and review of many of the clinical trials underway for retinal degenerative diseases.
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Have I Got a Cure for You! Debunking an Alleged Treatment on the Internet

In the lab with beakerIt seems there is no dearth of fantastic cures being touted on the Internet and in email inboxes these days. Sort of reminds me of those old Western movies where the itinerant peddler sells the magic elixir that will cure any and all ailments you have. Continue Reading…