Researcher Q&A: Professor Robert MacLaren

17 December 18

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Professor Robert MacLaren

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Our researchers share what excites them most in eye research

The University of Oxford’s Professor Robert MacLaren is making good progress in the development of a sophisticated robotic eye surgery system called PRECEYES.

In your view, what has been the biggest breakthrough in 2018?

The amazing discovery that the visual field loss in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa can be reversed significantly following gene therapy. Prior to that we had only talked about slowing retinal degeneration, not actually reversing it.

In what areas do you think eye research will make the most progress in 2019?

Following on from the approval of Luxturna (the first retinal gene therapy treatment), we can expect to see many other retinal gene therapy programmes coming into the clinic.

What developments do you think will be important to the eye health sector as a whole in 2019?

Improvements in terms of rapid access to anti-VEGF therapies. Also, new implantable devices that may eventually take over from the traditional treatments.

Do you have any professional New Year’s resolutions for 2019?

I plan to focus on our clinical trials and ensure that all surgeons in the major centres worldwide are comfortable with the surgical techniques needed for gene therapy. I also hope to develop the robot in more advanced procedures.

Do you have any personal New Year’s resolutions for 2019?

I plan to spend more time playing tennis with my kids. The oldest is now close to beating me.