Today, we’d like to share with you some of the exciting biotech advances happening in vision research, including genetic technology that may help with a COVID-19 vaccine, gene therapy that may reverse vision loss, and the work of one scientist focused on reducing vision loss in premature infants.
Did you know…
that there is a not-so-new genetic technology – in fact, ophthalmologists already use it to reverse an incurable type of blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) – that may well lead to SARS-CoV-2 treatment the world so desperately seeks? The technology, developed in a vision research lab, leverages a unique vaccine strategy, called adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector, using an innocuous virus that scientists have been studying for 25 years, to deliver a powerful knock-out punch to COVID-19 before it can establish a foothold in the human body. Read more.
Funding for research into biotech approaches to reversing vision loss is vitally important. Without it, breakthroughs like limbal stem cell transplant won’t be possible. The video below tells the story about a college student who suffered from debilitating pain in his eyes and deteriorating vision. After four years of trying to identify the source of the problem, he was finally diagnosed with limbal stem cell deficiency. He regained his vision through a limbal stem cell transplant from his sister.
Jonathan Sears, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, has discovered how to change the way that cells respond to oxygen, providing new treatment options to prevent retinal damage (retinopathy of prematurity) — and damage to other organs — that often results from the high saturation oxygen treatment that is essential for premature infants. Retinopathy of prematurity is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness. Read More.