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Ben

The following articles were authored by Ben

ARVO 2018: Dr. Shannon Boye Reports on her Emerging Gene Therapy for LCA (GUCY2D)

At the annual ARVO research conference in Honolulu, I had an opportunity to talk with FFB-funded researcher Shannon Boye, PhD, University of Florida, about her advancement of gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (GUCY2D mutations) toward a clinical trial.

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ARVO 2018: World’s Largest Show and Tell for Innovations in Eye Research

arvo_post_042518In addition to funding sight-saving research, we at FFB work hard to tell the scientific world about it. That’s because knowledge sharing and collaboration are critical to accelerating the advancement of promising therapies. Progress in developing treatments and cures isn’t made in a vacuum.

The best opportunity for us to showcase FFB-funded research is at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which is being held April 29 – May 3 this year in Honolulu. More than 11,000 eye researchers from around the world — including five intrepid members from FFB’s science team — will gather to participate in what is essentially a massive “show and tell” of the latest scientific advancements.
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Retinal Patch Performs Promisingly in Clinical Trial for Dry AMD Patients

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Regenerative Patch Technologies, a company developing stem-cell-derived treatments for people with retinal diseases, has reported encouraging results for the first five patients with advanced, dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) participating in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial for its therapy – a patch comprised of a layer of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells on a synthetic scaffold. The treatment is known as the California Project to Cure Blindness–Retinal Pigment Epithelium 1 (CPCB-RPE1).
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Vision Improvements Reported in Early Stem Cell Trial for Wet AMD

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Two patients with advanced wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a Phase I clinical trial demonstrated improved visual acuity sustained for one year after a sheet of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from embryonic stem cells was transplanted under their retinas. Each patient had one eye treated. Vision improvement for one patient was 29 letters or about 6 lines on an eye chart. The other had a gain of 21 letters or about 4 lines.
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Best Disease Gene Therapy Advances Toward Clinical Trial

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BEST1-Untreated cBest patho MCT1-E66

Untreated retina

BEST1-treated MCT1-E66

Retina treated with gene therapy

Using gene therapy, FFB-funded researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) and Perelman School of Medicine have reversed the disease process in a canine model of Best disease, an inherited form of macular degeneration that can lead to severe vision loss in humans. The therapeutic effect of the treatment has been sustained for as long as five years. Results of the study led by Karina Guziewicz, PhD, and Artur Cideciyan, PhD, were published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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Choroideremia Gene Therapy Moves into Phase 3 Human Study

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Nightstar Therapeutics, a retinal-disease, gene-therapy development company in the UK, is advancing its emerging gene therapy for choroideremia into a Phase 3 clinical trial known as STAR. The study will enroll approximately 140 patients at 18 clinical sites in the US, Europe, Canada, and South America.
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Natural History Study Launches for LCA Caused by Specific Mutation in CEP290

Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) is participating in a natural history study for people with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) type 10 caused by a mutation referred to as “c.2991+1655A>G” in intron 26 of the CEP290 gene.
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FFB-CRI Investing $7.5 Million in Emerging Therapy for USH2A

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The Foundation Fighting Blindness Clinical Research Institute (FFB-CRI) has entered into a partnership with ProQR to develop a retinal therapy for people with Usher syndrome type 2A (USH2A) caused by mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene. FFB-CRI will be investing up to $7.5 million in milestone-based funding to advance the treatment, known as QR-421a, toward a Phase 1/2 clinical trial during 2018. ProQR plans to issue the initial data report for the clinical study in 2019.
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AGTC Launches XLRP Gene Therapy Clinical Trial at Five Sites in U.S.

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Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC) is now recruiting for its Phase 1/2 gene therapy clinical trial for males with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) caused by mutations in the gene RPGR. Approximately 15 patients will be enrolled in the study, which is primarily evaluating safety. Three doses of the gene therapy will be tested. The trial is taking place at five sites in the U.S.
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Ophthotech Launching Human Study of Emerging Therapy for Stargardt Disease

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Ophthotech, a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for eye diseases, has enrolled the first patient in its Phase 2b clinical trial of Zimura® for people with Stargardt disease caused by mutations in the gene ABCA4. The 120-participant study will be taking place at more than 30 sites. Data and knowledge gleaned from ProgStar, a natural history study for people with Stargardt disease funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, was used in the design of the clinical trial.
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