Millions of individuals affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) are visually impaired due to photo-degeneration of retina. The visual loss starts with the peripheral region progressing towards the center leading to tunnel vision. Currently, there is no cure to restore vision in these patients. The disease leads not only to physical impairment, but has a significant emotional and psychological impact on quality of life of patients as well as their family members.
Nanoscope scientists have developed a highly photosensitive Multi-Characteristics Opsin (MCO) that allows stimulation of retinal cells for restoring vision in patients with RP and other genetic retinal diseases who have lost their photoreceptors. NanoScope Technologies has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Audacious Goal Initiative (AGI) R01 Grant from the National Eye Institute (NEI) to re-sensitize the photo-degenerated retinal areas with MCO by targeted gene delivery using an infrared (IR) ultrafast laser.
By facilitating cross-disciplinary research, the Audacious Goal Initiative is tackling the most devastating and difficult-to-treat eye diseases. Through strategic research funding, the NEI has enlisted dynamic scientists who are developing the necessary knowledge and technology to make the goal a reality.
"It is the first time an Audacious Goal Initiative (AGI) Grant has been awarded to a Texas institution. We will collaborate with local medical and research institutions to further advance our technology," said Sulagna Bhattacharya, Chief Executive Officer of Nanoscope Technologies.
"Besides the unique IR ultrafast laser delivery and confocal microscopy platform, Nanoscope provides a dedicated and supportive environment to develop and translate the technology. It will require significant efforts for developing and optimizing the technology," said Samarendra Mohanty, Chief Scientific Officer of Nanoscope Technologies and Principal Investigator of the NEI AGI R01 grant.
"Nanoscope Technologies is the only company that has been awarded such a grant since the Audacious Goal Initiative was announced by NIH. For the first time, we will develop and carry out ultrafast laser based gene delivery to the retina in living, blind animals for vision restoration. The technology will have significant potential for future clinical ophthalmological use in humans" said Weldon Wright, Chief Medical Officer of Nanoscope Technologies.
The NanoScope research team and company are dedicated to the goal of developing laser gene delivery technologies for vision restoration.