Inaugural Recipient of the Restore Vision 20/20 Award Announced!

September 12th, 2018 by Dr. Mary Sunderland

There is no doubt that funding vision research is the surest path to developing new sight-saving treatments – just ask our Scientific Advisory Board.

September 5, 2018 was a very special day for all of us at the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB): we hosted our annual Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting, which brings together world-renowned vision science and ophthalmology experts from around the globe.

The FFB’s Scientific Advisory Board has a very challenging job: they must rigorously review and scrutinize the scientific excellence of the research proposals that have been submitted to the FFB for funding.

At this recent meeting, the SAB reviewed new proposals that were submitted to the FFB’s Restore Vision 20/20 Competition.  

Before it was a carefully designed research competition, Restore Vision 20/20 was a dream. It was an idea to take research further. The goal was to help the most promising discoveries move from the laboratory into the clinic where they can be tested as experimental treatments. Wouldn’t that be incredible? The challenge is that funding this kind of later-stage research requires significant resources.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Donna Green and her mother Goldie Feldman, as well as an anonymous donor, we were able to create the Restore Vision 20/20 Initiative, which is committing $2.5 million to drive the development of new sight-restorative treatments for retinitis pigmentosa.

Restore Vision 20/20 is laser-focused on funding the best science that has a clear path to becoming an innovative, sight-restoring treatment within the next 5 years.

Today, I am thrilled to announce the first recipient of the Restore Vision 20/20 Award – drum roll please… Dr. Philippe Monnier!!

We have been working behind the scenes with Dr. Monnier, who is a senior scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, to map out his path forward and are now eager to share this exciting news with our community! Dr. Monnier’s winning proposal is titled: Development of a Protein that Promotes Photoreceptor Survival.

Dr. Monnier’s project, which is focused on developing a new sight-restoring drug (or protein) is especially exciting for all of us at the FFB, because, although Dr. Monnier’s first focus is on retinitis pigmentosa, he has also conducted research that shows this promising new drug might also work as a new treatment for age-related macular degeneration and also for glaucoma. Please stay tuned for more details on the science behind Dr. Monnier’s exciting new project (which will be featured in an upcoming e-news this fall).

Thanks to the visionary donors who made the Restore Vision 20/20 Initiative a reality, the FFB now has a plan to accelerate the development of a first-in-human clinical trial for people living with retinitis pigmentosa! Dr. Monnier’s project is a giant step forward and we are looking forward to announcing additional Restore Vision 20/20 recipients. Indeed, we have some very big new research announcements in the works that we can hardly wait to share with the entire FFB community! It’s going to be an exciting few months ahead!

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