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New Collaborative Research Team to Focus on Restoring Vision

L-R: Drs. Derek Welsbie, Yang Hu, Anna La Torre, and Xin Duan
L-R: Drs. Derek Welsbie, Yang Hu, Anna La Torre, and Xin Duan

The Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) consortium is a team of four principal investigators and their laboratories working together to accelerate the pace of discovery toward a cure for glaucoma.

Research Goals

Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) launched a new CFC team in January 2019 that is focused on vision restoration. Their goal 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.

This is the third team of CFC investigators funded by GRF. The team’s research will build on discoveries made by the first two CFC teams and their collaboration will intensify the search for new genetic, neuroprotective, and cell replacement therapies for glaucoma.

New Team Chosen for Expertise in Vision Restoration

The four researchers in the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative — selected through a comprehensive process by an elite Scientific Advisory Board — 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.

First-Year Objectives

The Catalyst for a Cure team met with their scientific advisors in February 2019 and have since established their initial plans for working collaboratively on multiple strategies toward vision restoration in glaucoma that they will be pursuing in the year ahead. The team identified several specific aims for their research and set milestones toward achieving them.

“Our goal is three-fold,” says David Calkins, PhD, Chair of the CFC Scientific Advisory Board (and Director of Research at Vanderbilt), “One, to preserve the optic nerve, independent of pressure; two, to repair the optic nerve, independent of pressure; and, three, to rebuild the optic nerve where damage has already resulted in vision loss.”

Last reviewed on May 15, 2019

This article appeared in the May 2019 issue of Gleams.

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