Discovery Paves Road for New Treatments to Prevent Blindness in Babies

September 17th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Babies born with Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), one of the most common causes of vision loss in children, stand to benefit from an exciting discovery made possible, in part, by the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The discovery was published on September 14, 2014 in the prestigious medical journal, Nature Medicine. The study’s lead author, Dr. Jean-Sébastien…

A New View of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Starving Eye Cells Contribute To Loss Of Vision In Seniors

March 14th, 2016 by FFB Canada

Story guest authored by Derek Waldner with contributions by Dr. Mary Sunderland. Derek is a neuroscience graduate student at the University of Calgary and a knowledge translation intern at the FFB. Even though age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50, we still don’t understand the cause of…

Top 10 Discoveries Driving the Race to Restore Sight in 2016

November 30th, 2016 by FFB Canada

At the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) we are motivated by a singular goal: develop new treatments for blindness and vision loss. This goal fuels all of the research that we fund. Today, we know more about blinding eye diseases than ever before. This knowledge is power because it shows us where to direct our resources…

Dr. Jean-Sébastien Joyal’s discovery in 2016 has fundamentally changed how we understand wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). His work established several groundbreaking findings—which is why this research was featured on the cover of the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. First, it was shown that photoreceptors use an alternative pathway (lipid β-oxidation), in addition to glucose metabolism, to produce energy. Second, by genetically and pharmacologically manipulating this pathway to simulate nutrient scarcity, researchers were able to show that starving photoreceptors increases production of VEGF – the signaling molecule associated with AMD-causing blood vessel proliferation. Finally, it was shown that this increase in VEGF by energy deficient photoreceptors causes wet AMD-like retinal lesions. These findings provide strong evidence for a previously unknown mechanism underlying wet AMD that will open avenues to future sight-saving treatment strategies.