Treatments - Stargardt Disease

Treatments - Stargardt Disease

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is supporting very promising research to find treatments and cures for the disease.

At this time there are no treatments for Stargardt disease. However, The Foundation Fighting Blindness is supporting very promising research to find treatments and cures for the disease. Foundation supported researchers were part of the efforts to discover the gene causing Stargardt disease. Discovery of this gene—originally called ABCR but now known as the ABCA4 gene—next led FFB-supported researchers to genetically engineer a mouse with Stargardt disease. The creation of the rodent model allows researchers to better understand how the ABCA4 gene functions in the retina and how mutations in the gene cause vision loss. With this knowledge, Foundation researchers are developing experimental therapies that address the underlying genetic cause of Stargardt disease.

From that work, researchers recently discovered that prolonged, unprotected exposure to light can accelerate vision loss in the Stargardt mouse. Based on this finding, The Foundation strongly advises patients to wear sunglasses and brimmed hats or visors when outdoors.

Additional findings from light exposure studies suggest that moderating phototransduction, the process of turning light into an electrical signal, may preserve vision loss. Foundation researchers are now studying possible treatments that would slow vision loss.

The Foundation also recently launched a major project to evaluate gene therapy for Stargardt disease. Through these and other efforts, promising treatments and cures are in sight.