Research to Prevent Blindness awards $4.8 million

07/15/04

New York, NY, July 15, 2004 Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), the world's leading voluntary health organization supporting eye research, announced 44 new grants totaling $4,802,450 for investigations into the causes, treatment and prevention of all blinding diseases. In the past 18 months, RPB has committed more than $12.9 million to eye research. Across the nation, RPB-supported laboratories are investigating the entire spectrum of eye disease, from cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy to macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and eye movement disorders. The organization will award additional grants in December.

The latest awards were given to 29 medical institutions, including unrestricted and challenge grants to departments of ophthalmology at 22 medical schools and 22 awards to individual scientists.

The recently-approved grant projects include: a clinical trial of cyclosporin as a treatment for severe atopic keratoconjunctivitis (a severe and chronic form of ocular allergy that causes blindness in 70% of those who suffer from it); the study of possible relationships between optic nerve size, eyeball shape and focus error and the development of amblyopia (lazy eye); and an attempt to create three-dimensional imaging of retinal cells in the living eye, which will help advance our understanding of the cellular origins of age-related macular degeneration.

Among RPB's vision scientists fighting eye diseases are nine active Jules and Doris Stein RPB Professors who receive $375,000 each over five years and up to $100,000 in a matching grant for laboratory construction. An additional $150,000 may be awarded during a two-year extension of the award.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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