Funding boost to develop regenerative therapy for retinitis pigmentosa
Dr Raymond Wong has received philanthropic support from the Estate of Elizabeth "Betty" Mary Gibson and Vision Australia to support development of a novel regenerative therapy to treat retinitis pigmentosa.
The degeneration of photoreceptors is a central hallmark of retinitis pigmentosa. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to blindness once the photoreceptors in the eye are lost.
For some inherited retinal diseases, the advent of gene therapy strategies to replace or edit causative genetic mutations has led to treatments that can arrest and even partially reverse vision loss. However, for patients that have suffered a substantial loss of peripheral and central visual function, due to degenerated photoreceptor cells, there are often insufficient remaining photoreceptors that can be targeted for these therapies. In this regard, regenerative medicine using cell reprogramming techniques is a highly attractive approach to address this issue.
Dr Wong's team is currently developing a cell reprogramming technology to stimulate the stem cells within the retina to generate new photoreceptors. Successful development will pave the way to a novel gene therapy as a regenerative strategy to treat retinitis pigmentosa. The generous support from the Estate of Elizabeth "Betty" Mary Gibson and Vision Australia provides important funding boost to advance this research.