Stem Cell Therapies Are in the Spotlight & Everyone is Watching the Eye

October 29th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Over the past two decades, scientists, politicians, and activists have been fighting about stem cells, which have the potential (under the right conditions) to make any type of cell in the body. While some people vehemently object to using stem cells, especially embryonic stem cells obtained from human embryos, others argue that stem cells are…

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Regenerative Medicine Milestone: Stem Cell Clinical Trial Announces Positive Results

October 16th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), an early leader in the field of regenerative medicine, recently published data in The Lancet that shows positive results from its ongoing stem cell transplantation trial. The clinical trial uses ACT’s proprietary retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE), derived from stem cells, to treat Stargardt’s disease and dry age-related macular degeneration. Published…

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Why Do Photoreceptors Die? New Discovery Reveals Important Clues

October 15th, 2014 by FFB Canada

We need photoreceptors to see; without them, we have no way to sense light and the world becomes dark. Photoreceptor degeneration is shared by a variety of retinal diseases ranging from retinitis pigmentosa (RP) to age-related macular degeneration. Because of this, scientists are trying to regenerate lost photoreceptors. Dr. Michel Cayouette also wants to know…

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A New Kind of Vision

October 14th, 2014 by FFB Canada

How would you describe what it feels like to see something? We have lots of language to help us with this. We can talk about colours, textures, shadows, scenery, and movement. We can talk about faces, objects, and silhouettes. The central role that vision plays in shaping our perception of the world is reflected in…

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Discovery Paves Road for New Treatments to Prevent Blindness in Babies

September 17th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Babies born with Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), one of the most common causes of vision loss in children, stand to benefit from an exciting discovery made possible, in part, by the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The discovery was published on September 14, 2014 in the prestigious medical journal, Nature Medicine. The study’s lead author, Dr. Jean-Sébastien…

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Can Stem Cells Be Used to Treat AMD?

September 17th, 2014 by FFB Canada

The world’s first transplantation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into the eye of a human patient took place on September 12, 2014, in Japan. The recipient of the experimental treatment, a Japanese woman in her 70s, suffers from age-related macular degeneration. The transplanted cells were derived from the patient’s own skin cells. Masayo Takahashi,…

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RPE65 Gene Therapy Trials for Leber Congenital Amaurosis Update

May 27th, 2014 by FFB Canada

At the Association of Vision Research and Ophthalmology meeting earlier this month, Dr. Jean Bennett delivered a keynote address focusing on gene therapies. Dr. Bennett has been the principal investigator for some of the trials of gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) type 2 (caused by mutations in RPE65). It is a series of…

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Potential Therapy to Slow Retinal Vision Loss

May 8th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Today, at the ARVO meeting, a Canadian team led by Dr. Uri Saragovi presented details of a potential therapy for retinitis pigmentosa and other retinal degenerative diseases. The therapy is based on GDNF (Glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor) a substance naturally found in the body. The therapy is not ready for human testing yet, but the early evidence…

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Valproic Acid as a Treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa

May 7th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Clinical trials of valproic acid for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa began in both the USA and Korea in late 2011. As well, a smaller shorter open-label trial was begun in Japan. Although the two larger trials have not yet reported, results of the small 30-person Japanese trial were presented at ARVO. The trial did…

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Genetic Testing & Retinitis Pigmentosa

May 6th, 2014 by FFB Canada

For the past 20 years, scientists have been discovering the genetic mutations that underlie inherited retinal diseases like retinitis pigmentosa. As the technology to evaluate genetic mutations becomes more readily available, scientists are able to look at and evaluate samples from a large number of people. Finding genes and mutations are important, as this endeavour…

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