The Research Foundation is the leading diagnostic unit for the clinical characterisation of patients with a variety of inherited retinal diseases including, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Choroideremia, Stargardt’s Disease and x-linked retinoschisis, amongst others. The Foundation has collaborated closely with the Ocular Genetics Unit at Trinity College Dublin for three decades in the genetic characterisation of patients attending the Foundation. This collaboration has resulted in the identification of novel disease-causing genes responsible for some of these inherited retinopathies. None of these discoveries would have been possible without the generous cooperation of patients ascertained and clinically investigated at the Foundation. Researchers at the Foundation continue this effort with the goal of achieving the core aim of the Foundation, namely ‘development of new treatments for ear and eye conditions that will eliminate hearing and sight loss’.
The Research Foundation is the principal investigating site for a number of Phase III Clinical Trials for the treatment of retinal disease using anti-VEGF medications. This collaboration with the pharmaceutical companies is a recent development for the Research Foundation and one that has been ongoing for the last few years. In addition, the Foundation is working closely with the ocular inflammation/cornea service of the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital, the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) at Dublin City University, the Department of Immunology at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and the Department of Rheumatology at St Vincent’s University Hospital on a number of studies on ocular inflammation. This collaboration brings together clinical and scientific skills from a range of disciplines that are helping to improve our understanding of a number of inflammatory eye conditions and corneal diseases.