Fight for Sight awards £1.2m funding to accelerate innovative projects into sight loss
Fight for Sight has awarded £1.2 million to fund groundbreaking research projects with exciting potential to transform the lives of people with sight loss.
We've awarded funding to five studies to support innovative research projects into sight loss. The five studies will accelerate breakthroughs in multiple sight loss conditions, including Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), Stargardt’s disease and uveitis.
Funding cutting-edge treatments
The five studies will be led by scientists and clinicians in Leeds, London and Cardiff. They have been awarded funding through Fight for Sight’s most recent call to support innovative research projects into sight loss.
The grant awards provide up to £250,000 for up to three years. The grants will enable researchers to carry out original standalone projects that could ultimately help improve the lives of people affected by various sight loss conditions.
From developing cutting-edge treatments for rare inherited eye conditions, improving screening for children at an increased risk of developing eye inflammation - to studying the underlying biology of sight loss conditions affecting adults, the funding will help accelerate discoveries that could lead to new ways to help prevent, diagnose or treat sight loss in patients.
The projects are:
- Professor Colin Johnson of the University of Leeds is investigating the potential of using a cutting-edge approach called antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) therapy for treating Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). This inherited condition causes blindness or severe sight loss in early childhood.
- Professor Omar Mahroo of the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology aims to develop an innovative gene therapy for an inherited eye condition called Stargardt’s disease that causes progressive central sight loss and affects between one in 8,000 to 10,000 people in the UK.
- Dr Ameenat Lola Solebo of the University College London, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, is exploring whether using imaging-based methods could help improve routine screening for uveitis – inflammation within the eye that can cause sight loss – in children with an autoimmune disease that puts them at higher risk of the condition.
- Professor Patric Turowski of the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology is studying the role of a molecule called Galectin-1 in the development of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) that result from damage to blood vessels supplying the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
- Professor Marcela Votruba of Cardiff University is carrying out laboratory research to investigate whether it may be possible to reverse sight loss in people affected with a rare genetic condition called Leber hereditary optic nerve neuropathy (LHON) that most commonly affects young adult men, causing a sudden loss of central vision.
Dr Madina Kara, Director of Research and Innovation at Fight for Sight, said: “We’re thrilled to announce these five new awards that will support a broad range of innovative research projects.
These exciting new projects aim to prevent or address sight loss caused by various eye diseases affecting children and adults. We hope they will ultimately lead to new ways to stop, slow down or reverse sight loss in patients – helping to improve their long-term quality of life.”
If you’re a researcher, you can find out more about our Project Grant Awards and how to apply to our 2023/24 funding call here.