2008 - Foundation Fighting Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness - $68,000

The Aloe Institute supports cutting-edge retinal disease research

In October 2008, the Aloe Institute awarded a major grant to the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) to help support research to preserve, improve, and restore vision in millions of people worldwide who live with impaired vision or blindness, particularly those affected by age-related macular degeneration. Since its inception in 1971, FFB has raised and invested more than $350 million in support of its mission. This year the foundation is funding more than 130 research projects.

Many seek to discover promising new therapies while others are being, or soon will be, assessed in human clinical trials. Nearly 25% of the more than $13 million in funding that FFB is providing this year is supporting research related to age-related macular degeneration, an area of particular importance to the Aloe Institute. The Institute’s funds are helping to advance progress in projects like the following:

  • FFB and the National Eye Institute are providing funds to enable Neurotech Pharmaceutical Co. to complete a study to determine if a tiny capsule implanted in the eye can halt or reverse retinal degeneration in people with age-related macular degeneration. The device contains cells that sustainably release a protein called ciliary neurotrophic factor that preserves light-sensitive photoreceptor cells under laboratory conditions.
  • A grant from FFB is enabling Dr. Johanna M. Seddon of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston to combine genetic information with information about age, disease status, smoking history, use of dietary supplements, and other factors that she can use to estimate the risk that people with age-related macular degeneration might develop the advanced form of the disease.
  • With support from FFB, University of Iowa researcher Dr. Terry Braun recently identified a new gene that is associated with age-related macular degeneration. He also is finding that genes commonly associated with a specific retinal degenerative disease in one population group may rarely be associated with the same disease in another group.
  • An FFB research grant is allowing Dr. Stephanie Hagstrom of the Cole Eye Institute in Cleveland to characterize changes in genes associated with the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, information that is critical to determining how such changes may lead to disease onset or progression.
  • At the University of California Irvine, Dr. Anne Calof is using her grant from FFB to explore the use of growth factors to reverse retinal degeneration, while Dr. Bärbel Rohrer of the Medical University of South Carolina is using her grant to screen thousands of potential drugs for their ability to preserve photoreceptors.

The Aloe Institute is proud to support key projects such as these and applauds recent advances that will lead to a better understanding of age-related macular degeneration and to the development of preventions, treatments, and cures for this vision-robbing disease. For more details about this exciting research, visit!

Additional Info

  • Grant Year:: 2008
  • Recipient:: Foundation Fighting Blindness
  • Grant Amount:: $68,000
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