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Case Western Reserve gets $10M grant to study retinal disease

Case Western Reserve University has received its largest-ever grant for eye research — $10 million over five years to study retinal disease.

Case Western Reserve University has received its largest-ever grant for eye research — $10 million over five years to study retinal disease.

The grant comes from the National Eye Institute and goes to the departments of pharmacology and ophthalmology and visual sciences in Case’s medical school, according to a statement from the university.

The aim of the research is to increase the speed with which basic science discoveries are used to develop new therapies for complex retinal disorders. Conditions affecting the retina, the tissue in the back of the eye responsible for vision, are among the leading causes of blindness in adults.

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Among those conditions is age-related macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in adults over the age of 55, according to the statement.

“Our goal is to develop new drugs based on the screening of FDA-approved drugs to evaluate their effectiveness in treating retinal diseases,” said Krzysztof Palczewski, chair of the department of pharmacology and principal investigator  of the research funded by the new grant.

Palczewski and his team have already examined 24 FDA-approved drugs for their ability to attack the buildup of harmful toxins in the retina. At least 16 of the drugs tested have already demonstrated the potential to limit the progression of retinal diseases. The resulting data provided the basis for funding the $10 million grant request, according to the statement.