The Top 10 Discoveries during 10 Years of Cycle for Sight! By Mary Sunderland, Director of Research and Education at the Foundation Fighting Blindness

So much has changed over the past decade it's hard to know where to start!

Around the world, new stem cell and gene therapies are being tested in clinical trials as potential treatments for blinding eye diseases.

These developments wouldn't be possible without the vision research that the FFB has funded, thanks to generous Cycle for Sight supporters.

In celebration of 10 years of generosity, dedication, and inspiration I'm highlighting the 10 most impactful discoveries, developments and breakthroughs that are helping us to win this fight against blindness:

  1. In December 2017, the first ocular gene therapy to treat a blinding eye disease received FDA approval! This is our PROOF that turning research into treatments is possible!
  2. There are now more than 30 gene therapy clinical trials underway that are testing new sight-saving treatments!
  3. In 2018, not just 1, but TWO, bioengineered stem cell clinical trials restored sight to patients living with age-related macular degeneration, paving the way for the future of stem cell therapies to treat blinding eye diseases
  4. Celebrated as the breakthrough of the year in 2016, CRISPR gene-editing transformed our ability to manipulate genes and offered new ways to treat blindness in the future (many FFB-funded scientists are using CRISPR gene editing in their research)
  5. In 2014, you helped to bring the Bionic eye to Canada today, it is restoring vision to people who were completely blind, including two Cycle for Sight riders! (Rosina and Orly)
  6. For the first time, FFB-funded scientists demonstrated that an oral medication can restore vision to people living with a genetic blinding eye disease.
  7. FFB scientists have discovered two new sight-saving drugs both of which are moving closer to the clinic!
  8. FFB-funded scientists discovered a breakthrough technique for making photoreceptors from stem cells. These are the cells that are needed for vision! This is critical leap forward for cell transplantation therapies.
  9. Optogenetics used to be just science fiction but today there is a clinical trial testing optogenetics as a potential sight-restoring treatment for people living with retinitis pigmentosa and FFB-funded researchers are involved!
  10. The most impactful discovery is not actually a scientific discovery, but the unearthing of a new attitude. In 2008, inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) like retinitis pigmentosa were considered UNTREATABLE but today, 10-years later, they are considered to be TREATABLE!! This complete change in perspective is a transformation made possible by FFB and the generous support of Cycle for Sight.