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Developing new treatment strategies for Retinal Disease

Exciting new research at Moorfields Eye Hospital

21 April 2017
Gene and Stem Cell therapy for Inherited Retinal Disease

Professor Robin Ali is leading a research group including Professor James Bainbridge, Professor Michel Michaelides and Dr Rachael Pearson to develop strategies to improve the function of the light-sensitive cells and prevent their death using gene therapy – the introduction of a normal copy of the gene into the retina to replace the faulty gene. This new human gene is inserted into a harmless virus, which then transports the gene into the retinal cells, where the gene is able to function normally.

Further information

For more details about this research are available here. [https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioo/genetics/gene-and-cell-therapy]

Genetics of human retinal disease

Another fundamental aspect of research led by the combined expertise of Professors Alison Hardcastle, Michel Michaelides, and Andrew Webster at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is to identify the specific genetic changes causing retinal disease within families. Then to carry out a detailed investigation of the retinal function using electrophysiology and psychophysics and to correlate this with the structure of the retina.

State-of-the-art imaging

Professor Michel Michaelides from the research team said:

“We have access to state-of-the-art imaging including adaptive optics imaging which allows unrivalled visualisation of retinal cells in the living eye - so it is now possible to image the different layers of the retina and even the light-sensitive cells themselves.

We will use the same approaches to study the effects of novel therapies such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy.”

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