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2009 - Foundation Fighting Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness- $70,000

The Aloe Institute extends its commitment to save and restore sight!

We have approved continued support for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) to aid the foundation’s ongoing commitment to funding research to save and restore sight to over 10 million Americans. This grant will help to fund various research projects that may lead to the discovery and development of promising preventions, treatments, and cures for age-related macular degeneration.

Such advances will make a tremendous difference not only to those affected by this devastating disease, but also to future generations of their families that also may be at risk for developing age-related macular degeneration.

The Aloe Institute’s commitment to the foundation is a reflection of FFB’s solid reputation as a leader in the field of retinal disease research, ability to attract top scientific talent, and ability to identify and fund high quality scientific projects, like those described below:

  • In February 2009, Neurotech Pharmaceutical Co. announced that its high dose ciliary neurotrophic factor releasing implantable capsule slowed the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration in 96% of patients in a clinical study supported in part by FFB. The researchers found other measurable improvements in the retinas of treated patients.
  • In a human clinical trial that was based on the results of previous studies funded by FFB, Sirion Therapeutics announced in March 2009 that the oral medication fenretinide substantially slowed the progression of damaging lesions due to geographic atrophy, the advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration.
  • FFB-funded investigator Dr. Terry Braun of Iowa State University has gathered detailed genetic, clinical, and demographic data for 800 people with age-related macular degeneration and has obtained detailed retinal images from more than 500 of those individuals. This information is being analyzed to establish gene-disease relationships, and to identify subgroups of patients with shared gene changes and shared patterns of disease presentation.
  • With a grant from FFB, Dr. Anne Calof of the University of California Irvine has found that altering the amounts of two different proteins in mice with an inherited retinal degenerative disease can result in regeneration of the damaged retinal cells during prenatal development. She is seeking to identify drugs that might be used to therapeutically adjust the amounts of each of these proteins that are present in the retina.
  • At the Cole Eye Institute in Cleveland, FFB grant recipient Dr. Stephanie Hagstrom tested 1,037 people with age-related macular degeneration and found six distinct changes in the PDN1 gene. One is weakly associated with risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, one is associated with protection against disease, and the others play minor roles relative to disease susceptibility.

The support of the Aloe Institute is helping to achieve significant advances in age-related macular degeneration research. By supporting diverse projects, the Institute is helping to set the stage for the development of safe and effective treatments. The value of this type of approach, which is a hall mark of FFB’s research program, is reflected by the recent, unprecedented success of an FFB-supported clinical trial of using gene therapy to restore vision to people with a specific type of retinal degenerative disease. For more information about this important new finding, which has profound implications for everyone affected by a retinal degenerative disease and their families, visit the Foundation Fighting Blindness web site

Additional Info

  • Grant Year:: 2009
  • Recipient:: Foundation Fighting Blindness
  • Grant Amount:: $70,000
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