As part of the Eye Development & Degeneration conference, the IGMM hosted a patient-facing event, welcoming 40 patients suffering from vision-impairing conditions: 5th September 2017
As part of the MRC Human Genetics Unit's international scientific meeting, Eye Development & Degeneration Eye: From Genes to Therapy , the IGMM hosted a patient event, welcoming 40 patients suffering from vision-impairing conditions, as well as their family members and 4 guide dogs. Over half of the visitors chose to also join a tour of the Institute, which showcased the Institute’s state-of-the-art imaging facilities and extensive zebrafish facility.
After the tour, researchers and clinicians provided brief presentations about their current research on macular degeneration, eye abnormalities - such as being born with no iris (a condition called aniridia), and retinal disease therapy using genome editing and stem cells.
The talks were followed by a Question and Answer session with a panel of leading researchers and clinicians with an expertise in eye disorders. Panel members included Dr Roly Megaw, who has recently published his research investigating the differences in light-sensing cells (photoreceptors) between healthy people and those suffering from X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, and Prof. Alan Wright, whose contributions to the field of eye genetics over the past 25 years have fostered many emerging vision research projects.
The gratitude expressed by these visitors and the respect they had for the scientists championing their cause was humbling and rewarding. Such events allow scientists to take a step back and remind themselves why they chose to undertake their research in the first place – in order to discover the causes of, and ultimately, find treatments and cures for, conditions that affect the vision of many people worldwide.
Roly Megaw Publication Press Release http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2017/gene-study-sheds-light-on-middle-age-sight-loss