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VISIONS 2014 – The First 24 Hours

Registration boothIf you’ve been to one of our annual VISIONS conferences, you know the Foundation takes pride in the mix of opportunities we offer attendees, everything from research updates to field trips. Rather than prattle on about how the current conference—which kicked off in Broomfield, Colorado, yesterday—is going, I thought I’d share photos and captions from VISIONS 2014’s first 24 hours. So, here goes:

Omni Interlocken pools

First of all, a shout-out to the Omni Interlocken Resort, which, as you can see, is equipped with plenty of aquatic opportunities.

Dr. Tim Schoen

The highlight of the first day was Save Your Vision Live!, featuring three experts on age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease. Among them was Dr. Tim Schoen, director of development at FFB, who shared the status of clinical trials of treatments targeting various forms of the diseases. The standing-room-only event was streamed live online, and if you missed it, you can see a recording here.

Summer Challenge board

One of the many booths at VISIONS 2014 promotes the Foundation’s Summer Challenge campaign, and includes a board where those who’ve agreed to take the challenge can affix their names. We’re hoping to fill it up by the end of the conference.

Welcome mixer

We welcomed those who’d arrived by yesterday evening with a mixer, offering hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a chance to meet fellow attendees.

Pearl Street, Boulder

Then, a couple busloads of attendees headed off to nearby Boulder, Pearl Street in particular, to soak in some of the local atmosphere.

Carley Colton

This morning, Carley Colton, president of our Houston chapter (we have almost 50 nationwide), was one of a handful of FFBers who shared the ways in which they use their personal stories to draw those not yet acquainted with the Foundation to our cause.

2 Responses to 'VISIONS 2014 – The First 24 Hours'

  1. Varsha naik says:

    I would like to find out any information for my 22year old daughter fighting Stargardts

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      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:

      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:

      “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:

      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:

      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:
      Here is a list of pharmaceutical companies developing treatments for Stargardt Disease:

      Acucela,( is a Seattle-based biotechnology company that is developing several drugs for retinal diseases such as AMD, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and Stargardt disease. Acucela’s visual cycle modulators (VCM) reduce the activity of the rod visual system — in essence, “slowing it down” and reducing the metabolic load on the retina. Reducing the speed of the visual cycle has been shown to protect the retina from light damage and reduce the accumulation of retinal-related toxic by-products, including A2E, which is implicated in both Stargardt disease and dry AMD. The Company’s lead investigational compound (Emixustat™) is currently in Phase 1 safety trials for dry AMD.

      Alkeus, ( Alkeus has developed a form of vitamin A that upon light interaction, does not form toxic vitamin A metabolites and A2E. Alkeus’ lead compound, ALK-001, is an oral compound with a well-understood mechanism of action. ALK-001 was specifically designed to treat Stargardt disease by preventing the formation of these toxic vitamin A dimers in the eye. ALK-001 has recently completed a Phase 1 safety trial and they are now recruiting patients for the Phase 2 study in the U.S.

      Ocata Therapeutics (Previously: Advance Cell Technology (, a Santa Monica-based biotechnology company, has developed an RPE cell line that is derived from embryonic stem cells (ESC). In collaboration with FFB-funded researcher, Dr. Raymond Lund, ACT showed that the subretinal transplantation of ESC-RPE cells in a rat RP model resulted in 100% visual function rescue. Functional rescue was also achieved in the Stargardt mouse model with near-normal functional measurements recorded at more than 70 days. A Phase I safety trial on 37 patients with Stargardt and dry AMD was recently successfully completed and they are now recruiting patients for the Phase 2 studies.
      Visum Therapeutics, ( Visum Therapeutics is developing a small molecule therapy to treat Stargardt’s disease. Visum’s novel approach proposes to develop drugs that will temporarily control levels of A2E in the eye and preserve the natural vision cycle, leading to a therapeutic treatment. Visum has discovered a unique chemical approach to sequester rather than eliminate A2E. Through this process, 25 diverse FDA approved drugs demonstrating both mechanistic and in vivo efficacy have been identified. Visum has identified a lead compound, VSM 20R, which is an enantiomer of an FDA approved drug that demonstrates complete retinal protection in preclinical studies. Visum plans to conduct Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in the near future.

      I hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.

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