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Our areas of funding - Research

Funding research is imperative in order to learn more about illnesses and treatments - there is still a lot to find out the eye and the conditions that cause loss of sight.

Our goal is to support Cambridge as a Centre of Excellence for eye and vision research.

Cambridge Eye Trust has very close connections to the University of Cambridge. In its Constitution it pledges to fund research undertaken by the Professor of Ophthalmology and give monies through the Dickinson Fellowship.

Help us to continue funding this important medical research.

Vision focused Research we support - Gene Therapy, Glaucoma and beyond

Each year Cambridge Eye Trust pledges thousand of pounds to eye research programs and projects led by ophthalmology research and clinical teams based in Cambridge.

Grants offered by Charities such as ours our extremely important. Sadly the NHS and Hospital Trusts have insufficient budgets to fund many initiatives which help save sight. Cambridge Eye Trust and other similar organisations step in to assist those with a passion for ophthalmic science uncover pioneering, worldwide firsts in our important field of medicine.

One such funded program taking place in the Centre for Brain Repair, is collectively called ‘Enhancement of Optic Nerve Regeneration by modulation of Integrins.’ The program's aims are to understand the roles of genes in the cause, diagnosis and treatment of several eye conditions. The Trust’s financial support has helped to part-fund a PhD student and visiting researcher who perform in-life-testing of the protrudin protein to identify the mechanisms behind axon regeneration. In addition long-term pledged research funding from Cambridge Eye Trust means the teams at the Centre can continue conducting their important research projects. These studies include:

  • The neuroprotective effects of novel gene therapies for glaucoma. Watch the video about their progress. 

  • The work has shown that the administration of gene therapy using a virus infection to transfer the gene results in an anti-viral response that may limit the effectiveness of repeated administration of the same virus. This is important to understand as we plan the most effective treatment strategies using gene therapy to treat blinding eye diseases.

  • Regeneration a diseased or injured optic nerve. Two important papers outlining how two proteins, (protrudin and PI3K delta) can protect and repair retinal ganglion cell neurons and their axons in the optic nerve have already been published.

  • The development of gene therapies to deliver proteins and machinery to the axon growth cone of the nerve cell.

  • Investigate ways to increase transport both in aged and injured nerve cells.

  • Aqueous outflow from the eye using haemoglobin imaging, which can be used in the clinic to assess operations for glaucoma such as laser trabeculoplasty, in which a measurable change in outflow has been demonstrated. The study has also led to a collaboration with Sydney Eye Hospital who have adopted this technique to guide surgical intervention and assess efficacy.

  • Viral gene therapy to enhance optic nerve axonal transport in two neuro degenerative disease models, a model of Alzheimer’s disease and an experimental glaucoma model with functional recovery.  This treatment strategy may have a role in novel therapeutic treatment strategies for glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Specific gene deletion in an effort to understand ways of enhancing optic nerve regeneration after injury, with the aim of restoring vision that has been lost. Gene deletion can promote anterograde optic nerve axonal transport and stimulate nerve regeneration following injury in glaucoma.

* Cambridge University Ophthalmology Departments and Addenbrooke's Clinical Departments have strong relationships with, but not part of the Cambridge Eye Research Centre.  

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