Gene Therapy Restores Vision in Patient

COLUMBIA, MD – October 24, 2014 - The Foundation Fighting Blindness has released a new video, “Restoring Sight, One Treatment at a Time,” featuring Allison Corona, a 22-year old Long Island woman with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). After a lifetime of living with the retinal disease, which causes progressive vision loss from birth, Corona had some vision restored by a gene therapy conducted in a clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The trial was made possible by the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ early investments in the treatment.

Corona, who once quit college out of frustration over her vision loss, now has a new perspective on life. “Once the treatment took effect, the improvement was amazing,” she says “I can see much more at night. I can read signs, so I can use the subway. I feel like I can do anything, that I’m truly independent. I even went back to college full-time.”

Aside from telling Corona’s story, the video also features interviews with Dr. Morton Goldberg, an ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute, and David W. Thompson, chairman and CEO of Orbital Sciences Corporation. Thompson, in particular, emphasizes the importance of donating to the Foundation, which continues to fund and support more than a dozen retinal-disease treatments heading toward clinical trials. Among them are gene, stem-cell and pharmaceutical therapies that will eventually benefits millions of people around the world. 

“A major goal of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to ensure that we continue to increase our collective knowledge about the causes and genetics behind all retinal diseases," says Bill Schmidt, Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO. "This video offers one patient’s success story, but it also showcases the critical work of some of the finest research minds in the world who, with our help, are moving many other treatments toward clinical trials. These researchers will continue to need a lot of support if we’re going to realize our goal of restoring vision and ending blindness.”

You can see “Restoring Sight, One Treatment at a Time” on the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ YouTube channel at BY CLICKING HERE.

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national non-profit organization driving the research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal diseases affecting more than 10 million Americans. Since 1971, the Foundation has raised nearly $600 million as the leading non-governmental funder of inherited retinal research. Breakthrough Foundation-funded studies using gene therapy have restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for additional clinical trials to treat a variety of retinal diseases.  The Foundation also has nearly 50 chapters that provide support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country. 

Contact:

Kara Flynn, (410) 423-0631

kflynn@fightblindness.org

Original Date: 
Friday, October 24, 2014