March 1, 2007

Grants From Leading Eye Research Foundation Surpass $9M In 2006

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), the world's leading voluntary health organization supporting eye research, awarded 90 grants totaling $9.12 million in 2006 for research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of all blinding diseases.

Departments of ophthalmology at 55 medical schools throughout the United States currently receive RPB research grants; a total of 176 individual ophthalmic scientists received RPB grant support in 2006.

Across the nation, RPB-supported researchers pursue basic and clinical investigations into the entire spectrum of eye disease. In 2006, vision research developments reported from previously funded RPB projects included: the restoration of sight signaling in mice through the transplantation of stem cells; the development of a side-effect-free treatment for the eye cancer retinoblastoma (the first such targeted chemotherapy drug for any childhood cancer and one with the potential for fighting certain forms of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer); and the biological mechanism by which the cornea remains clear and free of blood vessels - a long-standing mystery and a finding that may help prevent the proliferation of blood vessels in some blinding eye disorders and cancers.

"RPB's mission is broad in terms of the spectrum of eye disease, but our strategy has always been targeted at those researchers and research communities most likely to yield crucial insights and treatments," says Diane Swift, President. "We expect that the latest round of RPB grants will bring us closer to our goal: the eradication of vision loss to diseases of the eye."

RPB grants are available to scientists at every stage of their careers, including RPB's top award, the Jules and Doris Stein RPB Professorship, which provides $500,000 over five years and up to $150,000 in a matching grant for laboratory construction. An additional $200,000 may be awarded during a two-year extension of the award.


About Research to Prevent Blindness

Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $248 million to medical institutions throughout the United States. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in eye research in that time, including the development of laser surgeries and the anti-VEGF treatments now entering use to curtail retinal degenerative diseases. RPB's comprehensive grants program operates with economy and efficiency. Historically, 81% of RPB expenditures have gone directly for eye research.

Contact: Matthew Levine
Research to Prevent Blindness

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