Cell Transplantation to Restore Vision: Winning Team Receives $275,000

May 26th, 2017 by FFB Canada

We are celebrating at the FFB today! Everyday, our goal is to drive the development of new treatments for blinding eye disease and today we had an infusion of critical support from the Ontario government! Thanks to the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), which is supported by funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, Dr. Valerie Wallace and her team from the University Health Network in Toronto were awarded $275,000 to fund their research on cell transplantation.

Dr. Wallace is an important friend of the FFB. She is the former Chair of the FFB’s Scientific Advisory Board and in 2016, we recognized Dr. Wallace’s stem cell research as the most significant discovery of the year!

With $50,000 in funding from the FFB and support from other partners, Dr. Wallace has built a formidable research team focused on restoring vision with cell transplantation. Her project combines expertise in stem cell biology, retinal development, biomaterials, gene regulation and “safe-cell” therapies to establish a plan to restore vision to people living with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other degenerative retinal diseases that involve central vision loss. It’s a dream team!

Together, her team will focus on three core aims: 1) develop a recipe to efficiently create human cone photoreceptors – the eye’s light-sensitive cells – and the neighboring retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells; 2) determine the best conditions in the host eye that are able to support the survival of transplanted cells; and 3) evaluate if the transplanted cells function and restore vision.

Thank you to the FFB donors who provided essential support to help bring Dr. Wallace’s project to this important milestone!