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Following a Discovery of Major Impact, Glaucoma Researchers Thank BrightFocus

It’s said that no scientific advances take place in a vacuum and that all discoveries are made possible by those who have gone before.

Another important factor for success is opportunity. For individual scientists, funding is one of the most important resources enabling him or her to carry out innovative research ideas.

So when their groundbreaking work appeared on the cover of Nature recently, the husband-wife research team of Bruce Ksander and Meredith Gregory-Ksander had people to thank.

The same day the article appeared, Dr. Ksander wrote to BrightFocus. “We’ve received significant support over the years from your Foundation, and I am absolutely certain this project would not have been possible without this generous support,” he acknowledged.

The publication detailed an extraordinary and as-yet untried approach to treating glaucoma that is being hailed as revolutionary. Harvard scientists have succeeded at genetically “reprogramming” cells to their youthful, undamaged selves as a way to restore vision loss from glaucoma as well as visual acuity losses that are normal with aging. The work was published late last year (Yuancheng Lu et al, Nature 2020).

Read our Research in Brief article about the discoveries.

Ksander and Gregory-Ksander have focused their careers on finding new treatments for glaucoma that go beyond intraocular pressure (IOP) control. Recently, he was co-investigator on a grant exploring a gene therapy approaches, and she has received two prestigious named NGR grants, in 2016-18 and her present award, from 2019-22.

Dr. Ksander expressed gratitude for the critical early support that set them on their current path, saying, “Meredith and I both got our start in glaucoma research from BrightFocus grants.”

Their latest foray into gene therapy discovery represents a collaboration among their own labs at the Harvard-affiliated Schepens Eye Research Institute and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and two others. The leader of the project was anti-aging guru David Sinclair, PhD, professor of genetics and co-director of the Harvard’s Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging. The fourth collaborator, Zhigang He, PhD, is on the Harvard Ophthalmology faculty with Ksander and Gregory-Ksander, and has a lab based at Harvard’s F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center.

These experiments, if successfully replicated, mark a revolutionary advance for vision diseases. Up ahead, the same approach could one day hold promise for other tissues and organs beyond the eyes, setting the stage for treatment of various age-related diseases in humans.

The project is a testament to innovation, visionary thinking, and the power of collaboration and shared knowledge. BrightFocus, through its donors, is grateful to have played a role.

See also:

Learn more about BrightFocus-funded research in this area

Learn about BrightFocus' efforts to end diseases of mind and sight

This content was first posted on: April 13, 2021

Contact Information

Michael Buckley, Vice President of Public Affairs
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9370
Email: mbuckley@brightfocus.org

The information provided in this section is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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