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Leung Lab receives 2 year research grant


Our lab has received a 2-year research grant from the International Retinal Research Foundation (IRRF) to evaluate new drugs for retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This is a form of inherited retinal degeneration that affects rod photoreceptor cells. When these cells die, the patients suffer from night blindness and progressively lose their vision. Consequently, these patients will experience life-long inconvenience because the disease is incurable. To discover new treatments for these patients, our lab has been screening drugs that may restore the poor vision of a zebrafish RP model. This model carries a human gene with a mutation that causes RP in patients, and suffers from serious rod degeneration similar to that in patients (right figure; compared to the numerous healthy rods labeled in green on the left). We have identified drugs that can preserve the dying rods in the fish mutant. These drugs can also partially restore the mutant’s vision. With the IRRF support, we will characterize the actions of promising drugs, and screen additional drug libraries targeted to the pathogenic mechanisms. Our work is expected to discover new treatments for RP patients. 

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