Exclusive: Retina Foundation Receives $1 Million Donation to Advance Ocular Stem Cell Lab
Dallas-based Retina Foundation of the Southwest has received a $1 million donation to advance its ocular stem cell laboratory.
Researchers will use the funding to identify personalized stem-cell-based therapies and potential cures for age-related macular degeneration.
The donation was provided by Grant and Jill Henderson. Grant is president of Dallas-based Talon Oil & Gas.
Located at 9600 North Central Expressway, the facility will also be renamed the Henderson Ocular Stem Cell Laboratory. The stem cell lab is led by Dr. Sri Sripathi, who has served as its director since August 2022.
“The family recognized the importance of stem cell research and Dr. Sripathi as an expert,” Dr. Karl Csaky, CEO of the Retina Foundation, told the Dallas Business Journal. “Dr. Sripathi is hoping that by examining stem cells in much more detail in the eye, we can develop very personalized treatments for patients. It’s very exciting and really cutting edge.”
AMD is an eye disease that blurs central vision and is one of the leading causes of irreversible vision loss in people. In 2019, over 19.8 million Americans aged 40 and older were living AMD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The global cost of visual impairment due to AMD is $343 billion, including $255 billion in indirect healthcare costs, according to the Retina Foundation.
The Retina Foundation first expanded its AMD research in 2007 with a $2.5 million grant from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation. The foundation used cell therapy, gene therapy, neurotrophic therapy, and corrective therapy to explore AMD repair.
Established in 1975, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest operates five laboratories and participates in more than 60 clinical research studies each year.
In November, the foundation will be bringing on Dr. Mark Pennesi, professor of ophthalmology from the Oregon Health & Science University, to conduct additional retinal research.
“We are making several big announcements that are truly going to make us one of the world’s preeminent facilities for both macular degeneration and inherited retinal disorders,” Dr. Csaky said.
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