$1.8 million Award for Blindness Research


The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) USA has awarded Nijmegen researchers a $1.8 million center grant for the 2011-2016 period. Nijmegen thereby is the third European FFB research center, next to centers in London and Paris. The new research center is named the "Radboud University Nijmegen Research Center for Studying Retinal Degenerative Diseases".  

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) USA is the largest foundation in the world that supports research aimed at the molecular genetic elucidation and treatment of inherited blindness, with special focus on retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome (deaf-blindness), and age-related macular degeneration. They sponsor 17 research centers, mainly based in the US. Through an integrated program of the Departments of Human Genetics, Ophthalmology and Ear, Nose & Throat, five topics will be studied that cover genetics, cell biology, retinal imaging, and gene therapy of inherited retinal dystrophies. The principal investigators are Frans Cremers (also center coordinator), Anneke den Hollander, Hannie Kremer, Ronald Roepman, and Thomas Theelen; co-investigators are Rob Collin, Carel Hoyng, Jeroen Klevering, and Erwin van Wijk.

In the last 25 years, ophthalmologic research in Nijmegen has increased from a small research topic in the late eighties to a multidisciplinary research team that studies all major forms of monogenic and multifactorial eye diseases. In the next 5 years, we aim to identify the majority of genetic causes for inherited blindness (topic 1), to unravel how the disruption of critical protein complexes in the connecting cilium of photoreceptors leads to retinal degeneration (topic 2), to decipher the Usher syndrome protein complex and to develop new therapies for Usher syndrome (topic 3), to identify monogenic causes for age-related macular degeneration using next generation sequencing (topic 4), and to develop functional retinal imaging techniques as new tools to assess the eligibility of patients for new therapies (topic 5).

<< back to overview news items