A look back at eye research in 2015
12 months and some really exciting steps forward
We take another look at some of the important eye research news stories from the year.
There have been some really exciting steps forward, including:
- A huge injection of funds for gene therapies to treat choroideremia and other inherited eye disorders, together now the UK's leading cause of blindness
- The prospect of eye drops to treat cataract and prevent short-sightedness
- Peek getting closer to bringing low-cost and accurate eye tests to anywhere in the world
- Many new genes discovered that cause or increase risk of eye conditions
- Greater moves toward true patient participation in research
Dr Imre Lengyel and colleagues identify a possible link between age-related macular degeneration and a type of calcium called HAP. Dr Lengyel was funded by Fight for Sight via the Mercer Fund.
Nightstar gets more funds from Syncona LLP, taking their investment to £17 million. Their choroideremia programme was made possible by the Tommy Salisbury Choroideremia Fund at Fight for Sight.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania announce the first clinical trial of gene therapy for choroideremia to happen in the USA.
Researchers discover that a common variation in the CACNA1A gene ups the risk of developing ‘exfoliation syndrome’. This age-related condition can lead to high pressure in the eye.
Teeth may be a good source of cells to repair the eye and restore sight, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh.
We announce almost £700,000 in new research grants.
The results are part of Fight for Sight's REGARD programme to build an optimal, patient-led model of care services.
The way in which scars form in the retina after the death of light-sensitive cells depends on the genetic fault behind the condition. The research was part-funded by Fight for Sight.
Faults in PNPLA6 lead to the death of light-sensitive cells in the eye. The discovery means there is a potential new target for treatment.
Results from a pre-clinical study show that a single injection can lead to benefits lasting '16 human years'.
Final results from the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis show that the treatment can work in principal. The projects was part-funded by Fight for Sight.
RP Genome Project research reveals that the gene DRAM2 is essential for vision. The £1.2 million project is co-funded by Fight for Sight and RP Fighting Blindness.
Study shows the Peek Acuity smartphone app is as fast and accurate as using standard eye charts. Peek was part-funded by Fight for Sight.
International research team discovers unexpected role for ATF6 in vision. The project was part-funded by Fight for Sight.
Fight for Sight awards over £1.4 million in new grants for world-class eye research.
UK and Italian researchers discover the genetic cause of a rare form of blindness, in a project co-funded by Fight for Sight.
Biopharmaceutical company Nightstar announces new study at the University of Alberta.
‘Microglia’ could make a new target for treatment to slow sight loss.
Fight for Sight results published in Molecular Therapy show that the cells could drive visually-guided behaviour, even in late stage disease.
A review by the National Institute for Health Research working with Fight for Sight is published in the journal Eye.
Promising pre-clinical research shows that lanosterol can turn cloudy lenses clear.
The award goes to ophthalmology registrar Dr Christine A Kiire to focus on diabetic retinopathy.
New 'wide-field' imaging can see more of the retina and reveal who is most at risk.
The second clinical trial to tackle a question from the Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership led by Fight for Sight with guidance from the James Lind Alliance.
A 60-year-old woman becomes the world’s first person to have an experimental stem cell treatment for age-related macular degeneration.
The first ever Funders of Eye Research Summit (FundERS 2015) was created in association with Fight for Sight.
The treatment restored vision to mice with the most common genetic fault to cause the condition in humans.
Dr Harry Orlans will work at the University of Oxford to develop a treatment for dominant retinitis pigmentosa.
Results show that ‘cone’ photoreceptor cells can’t cope with everyday damage caused by light without a process called autophagy.
Fight for Sight’s small grant award schemes fund 21 new research projects for a total of £300,000.
Research results suggest the treatment can preserve useful vision for at least 2 years.
Promising research in animals and human tissue on developing non-surgical treatment. The results follow July’s news that lanosterol eye drops clear cataract.
NightstaRx secures investment from venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates.
A study of millions of health records shows levodopa delays or prevents a major cause of sight loss.
Results from a 5-year study have shown that a daily dose of atropine eye drops can slow down short-sightedness (myopia) as it develops.
Irenie Ekkeshis gave a patient perspective on behalf of Fight for Sight to a meeting of research charities, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.
Results in adults with normal vision point to a possible future treatment for adults with amblyopia
Research co-funded by Fight for Sight tells us which patients might benefit from gene therapy to target AIPL1 and paves the way to developing treatment.