Research Articles - Other Retinal Diseases
When a person is diagnosed with an inherited retinal condition, identifying his or her disease-causing gene mutation can often be beneficial. It enables a physician to make a definitive diagnosis and determine which family members may be at risk for the condition. Also, identification of the mutation is necessary for participation in clinical trials of emerging gene therapies. However, more than 200 genes have been linked to retinal diseases, which often makes the search difficult.
Eighteen of the world’s leading retinal researchers convened in Las Vegas November 18-20 to present their progress in advancing clinically focused research made possible by the Foundation’s Translational Research Acceleration Program (TRAP). Since 2008, $70 million has been allocated to the program to move promising retinal-disease treatments into human studies.
Two French research institutions — the Institut de la Vision and Institut Langevin — will receive nearly $16.5 million from the European Research Council (ERC) to advance state-of-the-art imaging technologies for gaining a better understanding of retinal diseases and developing sight-saving therapies.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness is providing $600,000 to a consortium of Israeli scientists working toward the ambitious goal of recruiting and genetically screening every person in Israel with an inherited retinal degenerative disease.
Eight years ago, Jim Schott told the staff at the Foundation Fighting Blindness that if they, indeed, wanted to launch a 5K walk program, he’d be honored to get the ball rolling by chairing the very first VisionWalk in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. But when the former superintendent of schools was told the goal was to raise $25,000, “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, how are we going to raise that?’” he recalls. “It was a lot of money.”
At first blush, completely shutting down both copies of a gene might not seem like the best way to treat an inherited retinal disease. That’s because genes and the proteins they express are thought to be essential to the health and well-being of all cells in the body.
To advance the research and development of inherited retinal-disease therapies, the Foundation Fighting Blindness Clinical Research Institute (FFB CRI) and Sanofi, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in France, have entered into a two-year agreement to regularly exchange scientific information.