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The Top Research Advancements of 2014: How Fast Can We Go?

lab photoAs we approach 2015, it’s inspiring to look back on 2014 and recount the numerous advancements we’ve made in developing vision-saving treatments and cures. When I joined the Foundation nearly a decade ago, virtually nothing was in a human study. We were curing lots of blind mice, and clinical trials seemed elusive. But, today, more than a dozen promising therapies are being evaluated in people, and at least a dozen more clinical trials are expected to begin in the next few years.

Is our progress fast enough? No way. Can we do better? Most definitely. Blindness isn’t waiting for us to find the cures. But when you consider that it took 18 years to find the first retinal-disease gene, and another 18 years to launch the first gene-therapy clinical trial, our progress today is remarkable.

Please join me in celebrating another highly productive year in the fight against blindness. And I look forward to the hard work of those who support us in 2015 as we move closer to finishing this tough job as fast as we can.

Listed below are the 12 top research advances of 2014:

1. Vision Improvements Reported in Choroideremia Gene Therapy Clinical Trial

2. LCA Gene Therapy Moves into Phase III Clinical Trial — Treatment Recipient Featured During ARVO Keynote

3. UCI Stem Cell Pioneer Poised to Launch Clinical Trial for RP Patients

4. QLT’s Drug for RP and LCA Improves Vision in 11 Patients

5. Genzyme Investment Boosts Development of Sight-Saving Gene Therapy

6. Clinical Trial Enrollment Completed for Potential Retinal Disease Treatment

7. Drug Restores Vision in Retina without Functional Photoreceptors

8. My Retina Tracker: Track Your Vision and Drive the Research

9. ReNeuron to Receive Support from FFB for its Retinal Stem Cell Therapy

10.Sanofi to Lead Commercialization of Two Retinal Disease Gene Therapies

11. Shire to Lead Development Advancement of RP Therapy

12. An Optogenetic Therapy Receives Benefits from FDA

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24 Responses to 'The Top Research Advancements of 2014: How Fast Can We Go?'

  1. Harry Dunn says:

    Ocata Therapeutics is conducting Phase II clinical trials in the United States and the United Kingdom. An article in the Lancet magazine detailed the results of one trial–9 out of 18 patients improved their sight with retinal pigment epithelium cell transplants. Ocata is the leader in opthalmic science–they are also in trials for Stargardt’s macular degeneration and myopic macular degeneration.They expect to be commercialized by as early as 2018.

  2. Judy Tauriello says:

    My Three granddaughters have RP. They are 14, 16, and 20 yrs old. The 20 yr, old goes to Wake Forest, University. She wants to be a doctor. The 16 yr. old has a heart for missions especially orphanages. The 14 yr. old is very social and is a cheerleader. I would like to be updated on any news on a cure for RP. What can we do to help?

  3. Miriam Meyer says:

    great to hear, hopefully more good news in 2015


  5. Erica says:

    Hello, I was recently diagnosed with RP. I am currently seeking any information on clinical trials and treatment for RP. I am willing to participate in research trials to help in finding treatment and a cure. Please keep me updated on any new information as it relates to RP.

  6. Nazmul says:

    Nice information.thank you.

  7. Trev says:

    I lost my driving license back in 2000 and was devastated but have been lucky enough to continue working – albeit with some frustration at the difficulties that come with RP. For those just diagnosed, its not the end of the world, you can almost live a normal life if you learn your limitations and adapt to them. I remain grateful to all the researchers and clinicians who unrelentingly pursue treatment or a cure of this disease. God bless you. But in the meantime, if you’re a fellow sufferer, don’t let your diagnosis overwhelm you. Do what you can to counter your disadvantage and explore ways to get around your loss of vision. My career continues to develop and most people don’t even know I have a problem because I try to work around visual impairment rather than let it constrain me. I will always remember how I felt when I had to put my car and motorcycle license into an envelope and post them back to the DVLA!

  8. Randy Brown says:

    Are there any clinical trials for Ocular Albinism?

  9. Judith Maria Ncube says:

    wonderful progress, thank you. My mother recently went blind due to glaucoma, can she participate in any clinical trials. We live in Zimbabwe.

  10. Peter Tuff says:


    My mom had temporal arteritis, and the doctor’s did not catch it in time, and now she is blind or have primitive vision. Are there any advancements in curing or having her get her eyesight back? Great if there are trial clinic’s, anything that can help ?

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      You or your mom may want to check the website: http://WWW.CLINICALTRIALS.GOV which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health and contains a searchable list of clinical trials for most known diseases. Each clinical trial listing will provide you with information on what the study is about, the requirements for participating and contact information.

  11. Crystal Barrow says:

    My friend is Legally Blind due to optic nerve damage and is in bad shape because his son left him to raise his grand children by himself and the state is threatening to take them away because he is blind and went blind 3 years ago. Any suggestions can help on trying to get him help on regaining his eyesight. Please & Thanks

  12. mark logan says:

    Good afternoon. My daughter had a corneal transplant at age 5, and she is now 21. Her vision is extremely bad in the one eye that had the surgery many years ago due to the fact she had a rare eye disease called peter’s anomoly. Can a stem cell injection gain her better eyesight? I was under the impression that once the nerve system of the eye was developed at a certain age, that getting better eyesight when your older would be impossible.

  13. Kim beranek says:

    I’m blind in one eye due to glaucoma in my mid twenties they decided to take my eye because it was painful I wish I would have not done that because of all the technology they have now ,anyway I’ve always felt like an outsider and freak because of my eyesight therefore I’ve always tried to be the hardest worker at my job to compensate for feeling inferior to everyone else who has two eyes and can see . I hate feeling that way but I do .i pray someday that someone could help me see better and maybe out of both eyes .i pray for that:) thanks kim

  14. liz streeter says:

    Any trials in NH.

  15. Igwe Stephine ifeoma says:

    I need cure for glaucoma disease

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