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Catalyst for a Cure Research Progress Report

Research Update from the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Team

This recorded "Innovations in Glaucoma Webinar" was presented April 27, 2020. Watch this exclusive update from the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Team as they highlight the consortium’s progress toward restoring vision lost from glaucoma:


Glaucoma is a disease in which the nerve cells that connect the eye to the brain degenerate over time.

There are about a million of these nerve cells in each eye, and as they’re lost in glaucoma, patients can eventually experience loss of vision. All current glaucoma treatments are aimed at lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) to slow the optic nerve degeneration, but for those patients who have already lost nerve cells and who have already lost vision, there are no treatments to restore sight.

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The goal of the Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) Vision Restoration Initiative is to come up with a novel strategy to be able to save or replace those lost nerve cells and reconnect them to the brain. In the central nervous system, including in glaucoma, once nerve cells are lost, they do not grow back, and thus there is no natural ability to reconnect to the brain. Making this connection from the eye to the brain will be one of the most challenging goals that the CFC team will face in its quest to restore vision lost from glaucoma.

The approach that the Catalyst for a Cure team is taking is to try to restore or replenish the nerve cells that are lost due to glaucoma progression. First, they are trying to determine the right type of cell to put back into the retina to replenish lost nerve cells. Second, they need that cell to survive and to make all the appropriate connections in the eye. And third, that cell then needs to grow its fiber all the way back across the optic nerve and connect to the right areas of the brain. All three stages to the challenge are necessary to restore vision, and that is why the CFC team has researchers with diverse expertise to be able to tackle each of these challenges.

In the coming year, the CFC team plans to develop and test regenerative therapies focused on retinal ganglion cell transplantation and axon regeneration, and also to work on developing new neuroprotective and neuroenhancement therapies.

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Funded by Glaucoma Research Foundation, the goal of the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative is to better understand what specifically causes vision loss in glaucoma and then to identify targeted interventions for protecting and restoring the neurons responsible for vision.

We and the scientists we support remain as committed as ever to our mission to cure glaucoma and restore vision through innovative research. Please consider supporting Glaucoma Research Foundation with a tax-deductible donation. Donate Now »

Last reviewed on May 01, 2020

This article appeared in the May 2020 issue of Gleams.

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