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The announcement during World Glaucoma Week emphasizes the need to find better treatments and a cure for this disease that affects more than 60 million people.
March 14, 2019, San Francisco, CA — Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) announced today $1 million in annual research grants to support 12 investigators at prestigious universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding eight researchers at prominent medical research centers with one-year Shaffer Grants, in addition to four principal investigators engaged in the multi-year “Catalyst for a Cure” Vision Restoration Initiative.
GRF is awarding $600,000 to the four Catalyst for a Cure principal investigators ($150,000 to each laboratory) to begin their investigations toward identifying innovative methods to restore lost vision due to glaucoma. Shaffer Grants in the amount of $50,000 each will be awarded to eight individual grant recipients to support groundbreaking research into potential new treatment targets for glaucoma. This investment continues Glaucoma Research Foundation’s status as one of the nation’s leading private sources of funding for innovative and collaborative glaucoma research.
“Glaucoma Research Foundation invests in both research and education programs. Advancing glaucoma research is critically important to us,” said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO. “Since our founding in 1978, we have invested more than $60 million in research and education. We have made some important advancements that have helped in the development of new therapies and diagnostics. But much more needs to be done to help those suffering from glaucoma.” he said.
The Catalyst for a Cure consortium is a team of four principal investigators and their laboratories working collaboratively. This year $600,000 is being awarded to the new team recently selected through a comprehensive process by an elite Scientific Advisory Board.
The four investigators are Xin Duan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Physiology Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco; Yang Hu, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Anna La Torre, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis; and Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, San Diego Shiley Eye Institute, University of California, San Diego.
The Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) team met with their scientific advisors in San Francisco in early February and have since established their initial plans for working collaboratively on multiple strategies toward vision restoration in glaucoma that they will be pursuing in 2019.
GRF’s 2019 research grants to explore new ideas are made possible through generous philanthropic support including leadership gifts from the Frank Stein and Paul S. May Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research, the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Family Grant for Research, Dr. James and Elizabeth Wise, The Dr. Miriam Yelsky Memorial Research Grant, Roberta and Robert H. Feldman, Carolyn and Richard Sloane, and the Edward Joseph Daly Foundation. GRF’s Shaffer Grant Advisory Committee evaluates grant applications and determines the most promising projects for Glaucoma Research Foundation to fund each year. Following is a summary of projects we are currently funding.
The following 2019 Shaffer Grants are being awarded at $50,000 each:
Steven Barnes, PhD
Doheny Eye Institute
Project: Functional Resilience of Retinal Ganglion Cells During Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Adnan Dibas, PhD
North Texas Eye Research Institute
Project: Endothelin Converting Enzyme Knockdown is Neuroprotective in Glaucomatous Neuropathy
Ankur Jain, PhD
University of Iowa
Project: Autophagy-targeted Treatment for Myocilin-associated Glaucoma
Daniel M. Lipinski, PhD
Medical College of Wisconsin
Project: Development of rAAV Vector Technologies to Facilitate Topical Gene Delivery to the Cornea
Biraj Mahato, PhD
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Project: Chemically Reprogrammed Retinal Ganglion Cell Therapy to Treat Glaucomatous Neuropathy
Pierre Mattar, MSc, PhD
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Project: Programming and Reprogramming for Retinal Ganglion Cell Replacement Therapy
Lauren Katie Wareham, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Project: Investigating the Role of the NO-GC-1-cGMP Signaling Pathway in Glaucoma
Pete A. Williams, PhD
Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden)
Project: Targeting Neuronal Mitochondria for Neuroprotection in Glaucoma
Established by the World Glaucoma Association and World Glaucoma Patient Association, World Glaucoma Week is designed to inspire a series of global activities that alert people to have regular comprehensive eye exams to detect glaucoma earlier, thus contributing to sight preservation. Experts estimate that half of the people with glaucoma are unaware of their condition and could be slowly losing their sight because their glaucoma has not been diagnosed or treated. 2019 marks the 11th year of observance for World Glaucoma Week.
Founded in San Francisco in 1978, Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is America’s oldest and most experienced institution dedicated solely to its mission: to cure glaucoma and restore vision through innovative research. GRF has a proven track record of ground-breaking, results-oriented research and produces definitive educational materials used by eye care professionals across the country. The Glaucoma Research Foundation website, www.glaucoma.org, provides valuable information about glaucoma to more than 4 million visitors annually.
Last reviewed on March 14, 2019