Dr Raymond Wong
CERA extends a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our 2019 tax appeal for life-changing research into gene and stem cell therapies.
These generous donations from our community of supporters will help fund essential research at CERA.
In particular, funds raised will support our world-leading research into stem cell and gene therapies for retinal degenerative disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
“The aim of our team at CERA is to strengthen our world-class gene therapy unit, and with your support we are closer to achieving this goal,” says Sarah Rainbird, Head of Philanthropy and Fundraising at CERA.
“This is an exciting time for you to help us pioneer this potentially life-changing treatment for all Australians currently living with vision impairment, such as our lovely supporter Jude.”
The potential of gene therapy
Long-time CERA supporter Jude is slowly losing her peripheral vision as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
“As I head towards my early retirement years, I had always hoped to wind down but never to be forced to slow down,” she says.
“In my daily life I need to be particularly slow and careful, or I am forever sending items flying from the kitchen bench, missing steps and pavement kerbs and bumping into things.”
For this year’s tax appeal, we highlighted the research work of CERA’s ocular genetics experts, Dr Tom Edwards, Professor Alex Hewitt and Dr Raymond Wong.
“Our research is making significant progress in developing treatments for eye diseases using cell reprogramming and stem cell technologies,” says Dr Raymond Wong, Head of CERA’s Cellular Reprogramming Unit.
“Many degenerative retinal disorders are characterised by the loss of retinal cells, resulting in vision loss and blindness. Regenerative medicine has the potential to replace some of these cells and help restore vision in these patients.
“It’s an exciting time, when revolutionary treatments for people facing blindness are within our reach.”
Our vision is that these new technologies could be used with patients like Jude to slow the progression of inherited eye diseases, or even restore vision, within the next decade. In fact, we could be ready to perform clinical trials in humans within the next two years.
“CERA and their researchers are dedicated in their quest to find answers for the healing and prevention of RP and other forms of blindness – let us help them continue!” Jude says.