The University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center has received a $100,000 grant from the Stephen A. and Elaine Wynn Charitable Foundation to fund continued research into retinal cell transplantation. The research is expected to help set the stage for human clinical trials of treatments for a blinding eye disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).
The funding will support the work of Raymond D. Lund, Ph.D., the Calvin S. and Janeal N. Hatch Presidential Endowed Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Utah. Groundbreaking research published by Lund’s group in 2002 demonstrated that vision could be preserved in rats born with vision loss similar to the human disease Retinitis Pigmentosa by transplanting healthy cells from human biopsies into their eyes.
“Our initial research showed, in essence, that rats who would have been blind without a transplant were able to discriminate patterns as well as rats with normal vision. Our idea to transplant new cells into the eye to sustain and nurture defective cells is a novel approach that has proven successful beyond expectations,” said Lund.
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