DNA or RNA-based diagnostic tests for infectious diseases are critical in modern medicine. The current gold standard for COVID-19 detection is testing SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA by quantitative reverse transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR). This method involves patient sample collection with a nasopharyngeal swab, storage of the swab in a universal transport medium during transport to testing site, RNA extraction, and analysis of the extracted RNA sample.
Mutations in the cone rod homeobox (CRX) transcription factor lead to distinct retinopathy phenotypes, including early-onset vision impairment in dominant Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Adeno-Associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated delivery of a CRX cDNA under the control of a CRX promoter region partially restored photoreceptor phenotype and expression of phototransduction genes in an in vitro model of CRX-LCA.
The culture of mouse embryos ex utero and continuous monitoring and imaging of embryos as they develop have applications in drug testing, genetic studies, and basic research on embryonic development. However, the embryo culture systems currently available for post-implantation embryos include rolling bottle culture systems, which do not permit imaging of the developing embryos and do not support the long-term survival and development of embryos ex utero.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived from Patients with CEP290-associated Ciliopathies and Unaffected Family Members
Approximately one-third of non-syndromic retinal dystrophies involve a defect in a ciliary protein. Non-syndromic retinal ciliopathies include retinitis pigmentosa, cone dystrophy, cone-rod dystrophy, macular dystrophy, and Leber-congenital amaurosis (LCA). Many CEP290-LCA patients also exhibit auditory and olfactory defects. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) cells were derived from patients with LCA and unaffected relatives.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) seeks research collaborations and/or licensees for the use of these iPS cells.
X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS) is an inherited ocular disease caused by mutations in the RS1 gene which results in the abnormal splitting of the retinal layers. It is the leading cause of macular degeneration in males, and approximately 1:15,000 individuals in the US are affected by this condition. XLRS causes progressive vision loss, and affected individuals are unable to perform simple daily activities such as reading, writing and driving. This condition can lead to vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment in up to 40% of patients – resulting in total blindness.
Interleukin (IL)-34 is a homodimer that is produced mainly by keratinocytes, neuronal cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs). It is believed to play important roles in chronic inflammation and the homeostasis of microglia. Currently, there is no effective treatment for many types of retinal degeneration. An improved treatment of autoimmune uveitis is also needed, as current uveitis treatment primarily uses steroidal anti-inflammation medication, which may produce significant unwanted side effects in long-term use.
Retinal Degenerations (RD) are the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The degeneration of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) is associated with various types of RD such as Stargardt’s disease, retinitis pigmentosa, choroideremia, Late-Onset Retinal Degeneration (L-ORD), and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The RPE as a layer of cells in the back of the eye. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the health and integrity of retinal photoreceptors.
Strategies to Protect Mammalian Neural Tissue Against Cold and Potentially Other Metabolic Stresses and Physical Damages
Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) have discovered an invention describing a composition and method(s) of using such composition for preserving viability of cells, tissues, or organs at a low temperature (around 4ºC). Current cold storage solutions or methods for cells, tissues, and organs are suboptimal due to irreversible damage to cold-sensitive tissue or organ transplants that need a longer term of storage for facilitating clinical practices.
Degeneration of retinal tissues occurs in many ocular disorders resulting in the loss of vision. Dysfunction and/or loss of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells (RPE) and disruption of the associated blood retinal barrier (BRB) tissue structures are linked with many ocular diseases and conditions including: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Best disease, and retinitis pigmentosa. Engineered tissue structures that are able to replicate the function of lost BRB structures may restore lost vision and provide insight into new treatments and mechanisms of the underlying conditions.
Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness. There is no cure and vision lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. Glaucoma is associated with fluid build-up in the eye resulting in an increased intraocular pressure (IOP). The pressure may cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to progressive degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and vision loss. Currently, available treatments for glaucoma delay progression by reducing IOP, but no therapies exist to directly protect RGC from degradation and loss.