Olivier Goureau, a research director at the Vision Institute1 , has won the 2019 Research Award – for Health, with Christelle Montville, researcher at the I-Stem2 laboratory. This award recognizes the work of researchers who have succeeded in improving the quality of vision in rats that have retinitis pigmentosa3 , by transplanting a cell patch obtained from human embryonic stem cells.
The new breakthrough could help in the development of cell therapy for treating genetic retinitis pigmentosa, as well as more frequent degenerative retinal diseases, such as some forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affect more than one and a half million people in France.
1 Jointly managed by Sorbonne University, Inserm, CNRS
2 Jointly managed by AFMTéléthon, Inserm, University of Évry
3 Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare disease that results in the degeneration of certain retinal cells, such as photoreceptors or retinal epithelial cells. Eventually, their destruction leads to blindness. Currently incurable, this disease is most often due to mutations in certain genes essential for the proper functioning of these cells.
What causes vision decline as we age? Another team from the Vision Institute says it has uncovered an important but hitherto little explored mechanism, involving the photoreceptors in the retina.
The research was conducted within the scope of the SilverSight research chair, led by Angelo Arleo and supported by the National Research Agency (ANR), which forms part of the academic/industry partnership between the Vision Institute (Inserm, CNRS, Sorbonne Université) and Essilor International.