Testing the Safety of Induced Stem Cell Therapies

February 5th, 2014 by FFB Canada

To restore sight to a damaged retina, one promising strategy is to replace the damaged cells with new ones. One way to do this is to start with stem cells and transform them to create new retinal cells. In the last few years, scientists have demonstrated that that retinal cell transplants are possible in mice,…

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First Gene Therapy Results for Choroideremia Suggest Cautious Optimism

January 16th, 2014 by FFB Canada

The first human trial of a gene therapy for choroideremia has announced preliminary results on six people; two of these patients have experienced significant improvements in vision. The findings were published in the British journal, The Lancet. The novel gene treatment was developed by Dr. Robert MacLaren, at Oxford University, in collaboration with Dr. Miguel…

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Allergies May Protect Against AMD

January 8th, 2014 by FFB Canada

A history of allergies may reduce a person’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). That is the message of a European study led by a German scientist, Dr. Sascha Fauser, at the University Hospital of Cologne. The study involved over 3,800 Europeans, who were part of a European genetics database. Half had AMD, and…

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Fine-tuning Optogenetic Treatments to Create More Useful Vision

December 16th, 2013 by FFB Canada

Optogenetics is an important new science that may have sight-restoring capacities for people living with retinal blindness. Optogenetics uses light-sensitive molecules derived from algae, called channel rhodopsins, to give light-sensing capacity to nerve cells. Retinal degenerative diseases usually attack and eventually destroy the rod and cone photoreceptors, but often these and other retinal cells remain…

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Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Named Invention of the Year

December 14th, 2013 by FFB Canada

Popular Science has named the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis its invention of the year. Each year, the editors of this science magazine review thousands of products in search of the top innovations of the year— technologies that represent a significant leap in their categories. The Argus II took the top honor in the Health category,…

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Eyelea Approved to Treat Wet AMD in Canada

November 8th, 2013 by FFB Canada

An additional treatment option for people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will soon be available in Canada. Health Canada has just approved Eyelea, a drug made and marketed by Bayer Inc. Eyelea (also known as aflibercept) is used to treat the most severe form of AMD known as wet AMD. The drug is given…

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Drug for Dry AMD Looks Promising in Early Trials

September 16th, 2013 by FFB Canada

A new drug being developed by Roche Pharmaceuticals may slow vision loss due to dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD). Dry AMD causes the slow death of vision cells in the retina. It is the most common, early form of age-related macular degeneration. In people with dry AMD, the retina begins to thin and –…

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New Partnership Aims to Identify Drugs Useful to Delay RP

September 12th, 2013 by FFB Canada

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is partnering with the the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund early studies of a potential drug treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. The studies, led by Dr. Uri Saragovi at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, are searching for drug compounds that would slow vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa…

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Canadian Scientists Show ‘Proof of Principle’ for LCA Gene Therapy

June 11th, 2013 by FFB Canada

Research led by Dr. Robert Molday at the University of British Columbia has shown that gene therapy designed to target the RD3 gene can protect light-sensing photoreceptors and restore visual function in mice. In humans, mutations in the RD3 gene interfere with the production of an essential protein in the eye and cause Leber congenital…

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Valproic Acid: The Perils of Using Drugs Off-Label

May 27th, 2013 by FFB Canada

Almost three years ago, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported on a preliminary clinical trial of the epilepsy drug, valproic acid, as potential treatment for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). The trial was a brief four month snap-shot of the treatment of 7 people, but its findings were exciting. In five out…

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