Colour
C C C C C
Text
T T
Skip To Content
Oct 9, 2013

Ocular Gene Therapy Centre Established at U of A

A $5 million grant from Alberta’s provincial health funder is establishing a Canadian Centre of Excellence for ocular gene therapy research.

Drs. Ian MacDonald and Tania Bubela at the University of Alberta are leading a team of researchers, clinicians, and academics who will work together as the Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team.  Their team will test the use of gene therapies to treat inherited eye diseases.

The team’s first focus is the genetic eye disease choroideremia. This choroideremia trial first received funding from Fighting Blindness Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other non-profit partners last year. This is the first trial of an ocular gene therapy in Canada.

With the sustained five-year funding announced today from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, the team will continue its work on choroideremia but will also develop its capacity to study additional therapies. As a Canadian Centre of Excellence for testing ocular gene therapy, this Alberta centre will join only a handful of centres worldwide with this capacity. Again, funds from Fighting Blindness Canada donors were committed to help make this expanded research effort possible.

The Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team is currently seeking study participants for the phase 1 trial of choroideremia gene therapy. It is working through the Fighting Blindness Canada patient registry and with ophthalmologists within Alberta to find appropriate participants. The trial will last for three years and will evaluate whether the gene therapy method being used by the team is safe. If so, the centre will continue with further phases of testing.  People interested in enrolling in the trial can visit the trial website. The research team is optimistic that, someday, those carrying the gene could be treated before any vision loss begins.

“This clinical trial exemplifies the power of partnerships to move us closer to treatments and cures for devastating genetic eye diseases,” said Sharon Colle, President and CEO of Fighting Blindness Canada. “Our community is eagerly watching Dr. Ian MacDonald’s clinical trial – it holds so much hope, for people living with choroideremia and over 1 million Canadian families affected by retinal eye diseases.”

To learn more about the research planned at the University of Alberta, watch this video produced by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

Latest FBC News View All

Collage of photos
Apr 25, 2019

A Message from the President and CEO For 45 years, the Foundation Fighting Blindness has raised and directed critical funding into sight-saving research for blinding eye diseases. From our earliest days as…

Read More
Stem Cells
May 23, 2019

In light of a recent article published by the Globe and Mail regarding the potential correlation between Avastin injections and increased glaucoma rates specifically in British Columbia, Fighting Blindness Canada is republishing…

Read More
Close-up image of someone filling out forms
May 15, 2019

We are letting our community know about a patient experience study being conducted by Medicys Ltd., a medical research company that is looking for people with a confirmed diagnosis of Usher syndrome…

Read More
May 14, 2019

On May 28, 2019, Dr. Chad Andrews, Senior Manager of Research and Education at Fighting Blindness Canada, will be taking part in Dispelling Myths Surrounding the Vision of Older People, an interdisciplinary…

Read More

Join the Fight!

Learn how your support is helping to bring a future without blindness into focus! Be the first to learn about the latest breakthroughs in vision research and events in your community by subscribing to our eNews.

I have read and accepted the privacy policy