I was talking with Dr. Alan Horsager the other day and was pleased to find out that he gave a brief talk at TEDx USC. His talk was on a set of technologies and an approach that we in the Marclab are collaborating…
…on with Dr. Horsager and a number of other investigators to ultimately craft vision rescue strategies in people with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. Alan is a tremendously talented scientist and entrepreneur that I’ve been following for a few years now in the hopes that some of his work would translate to possibilities for vision rescue.
Science has been after vision rescues now for many, many, years without success in most cases due to a failure to understand 1) the biology behind retinal degenerative diseases and 2) what the right targets are and how to intervene. For many years, especially after studying the biology behind retinal degenerations, I was pessimistic about the prospects of a biologically mediated rescue, but recently I have become optomistic that we will have a solution for human patients within a decade, not only for people early in retinal disease, but also many with late stage disease. This optimism is based in part on technologies that Alan is facile with and fundamentally because of his and Ken Greenberg‘s work in the field of optogenetics, we are just now coming to a place where we can start to embark on successful implementations of vision rescue strategies that have real promise.
Rescuing vision loss is a massive undertaking and one that cannot be accomplished through any individual laboratory, group or company. It requires collaboration and teamwork with a number of labs, each with specific talents. The trick is assembling the right talent into the right teams and we are very excited to be working with Dr. Horsager. The vision research community and those suffering from blinding diseases are lucky to have him.
Alan’s talk in this TEDx presentation surveys the concept of optogenetics as applied to rescue of retinal degenerative disease and shows initial rescue data in a number of mouse models of retinal degeneration that is tremendously exciting.