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Cash boosts blindness cure research


The possibility of finding a cure for a major cause of blindness has taken a step forward thanks to a £250,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

The RP Fighting Blindness charity campaigns on behalf of the 25,000 people in the UK with the genetic condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

The cash will enable collaboration with University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology to research potential treatments.

A team led by Professor Mike Cheetham is looking at the potential for advanced drugs, already approved for the treatment of other conditions, to arrest the deterioration of sight in people with RP.

RP is caused by flaws in a number of genes, a condition that causes the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina, which convert light into signals in the brain.

David Head, chief executive at RP Fighting Blindness, said: “We are extremely grateful to the lottery for their support, without which we would simply not have been able to fund the project.

“There is currently no cure, but there are several very promising threads of research under way that could lead to treatment, of which this is one.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

RP Fighting Blindness

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