Category: Retinal Regeneration

Falling Walls Announces Science Breakthroughs of the Year: José-Alain Sahel, MD

Falling Walls

Berlin, 15 September 2021. Today the first Science Breakthroughs of the Year Awards are announced by the Falling Walls Foundation in Berlin. The Science Breakthroughs are awarded in 10 categories, the first seven recipients ranging from Life Sciences and Physical Sciences to Art and Science and Science and Innovation Management. The first laureates of the prestigious “Science Breakthrough of the Year” award are: José-Alain Sahel, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine I Life Sciences Breaking the Wall to Restoring Vision for Retinal Degeneration Elham Fadaly and Erik Bakkers, Eindhoven University of Technology I Physical Sciences Breaking the Wall to

EEF in the Global News This Week (BBC, TIME Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and More)

José-Alain Sahel, MD

In a breakthrough study published May 24th in Nature Medicine, Dr. José-Alain Sahel, our Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, reports a relatively simple yet remarkably effective way to restore partial vision to RP patients—one that, with further study, may soon have wide application. Below is a collection of the many news article this research has garnered. National Newspapers and Magazines (General News, U.S. and U.K.-Based) The New York Times: Scientists Partially Restored a Blind Man’s Sight With New Gene Therapy TIME magazine: A Blind Patient Regained Partial Sight in a Breakthrough Study, Offering Hope to Millions The Wall Street

Breakthrough Study on Restoring Vision to Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients

Nature Medicine

The darkness descends slowly for people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease that affects 2 million people worldwide. The condition is typically diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. Still, it can take until middle age before a person’s vision has deteriorated severely enough that they are fully or effectively blind. When the lights finally do go out, however, they stay out. Or that is the way things used to be. In a breakthrough study published May 24th in Nature Medicine, Dr. José-Alain Sahel, our Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, reports a relatively simple yet remarkably effective

The New York Times | Scientists Partially Restored a Blind Man’s Sight With New Gene Therapy

The New York Times

By Carl Zimmer May 24, 2021 A team of scientists announced Monday that they had partially restored the sight of a blind man by building light-catching proteins in one of his eyes. Their report, which appeared in the journal Nature Medicine, is the first published study to describe the successful use of this treatment. “Seeing for the first time that it did work — even if only in one patient and in one eye — is exciting,” said Ehud Isacoff, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study. The procedure is a far

A New Era in Retinal Research

Retinitis Pigmentosa

The most common hereditary retinal dystrophy in the world is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Over the past four years, the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, under the leadership of Dr. José -Alain Sahel, who has dedicated his career to the study and development of new treatments for hereditary retinal dystrophies, has placed Pitt at the forefront of research for RP around the world. Now, thanks in part to generous Eye & Ear Foundation donors such as Mr. Martin McGuinn, who established the Martin McGuinn Retina Research Fellowship, incredible progress is being made towards developing new

Restoring Vision with Optogenetics

José-Alain Sahel, MD

Dr. Sahel spoke about pioneering work in optogenetics, where scientists have attempted to, with success, restore the function of the cone cells in the eye that were not completely lost due to disease by utilizing light-sensitive algae. On Thursday, May 21, Department of Ophthalmology Chairman Jose-Alain Sahel, MD gave an honorary lecture (virtually) at Columbia University School of Medicine’s Edward Harkness Eye Institute. Dr. Sahel presented the twenty-third annual Ulrich Ollendorff, MD Lecture, titled ‘Gene Independent Strategies in Retinal Degeneration’ on scientific advances that he and his teams in Paris in Pittsburgh are contributing to the field. The Ulrich Ollendorff,

Getting A Bird’s Eye View

Susana da Silva, PhD

Scientists in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine continue to advance their research on a variety of areas that could eventually help solve the puzzle of vision loss. One current area of focus involves studying the fovea. What’s a Fovea? The fovea is a small depression in the retina of the eye where visual acuity is highest. The center of the field of vision is focused in this region, where retinal cones are mainly concentrated. The fovea is responsible for our ability to see colored and sharp vision and perform daily tasks, like reading,

Swimming Towards a Cure: Studying Fish to Understand Vision Loss in Humans

Swimming Towards a Cure

Led by Jeffrey Gross, PhD, the E. Ronald Salvitti Chair in Ophthalmology Research and the director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration, researchers are studying an unlikely creature to understand vision loss in humans: zebrafish. A major focus area for the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is the regeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium and retina. Epitheli-what? So, what is the retinal pigment epithelium? The retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, spans the entire back of the eye and functions to maintain the health of the light-sensing photoreceptor cells of the retina;

A Beam of Light to the Brain Can Help to See in the Future

Helsingin Sanomat

Included below is a translated segment by Kalevi Rantanen published in Helsingin Sanomat, the largest subscription newspaper in Finland, on February 20, 2020. In the future, the blind can see light when video is sent directly to the brain. Eyes, and even the optic nerve, can be bypassed by optogenetics, where images are produced by light. Professor Stephen Macknik of New York’s Downstate University assures us that implantation will soon be done on the optic cortex, that is, directly on the brain. The Macknik team has developed a brain implant called Observ. It is based on optogenetics, which combines optics

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