NEI’s Redmond Receives Vision Science Award
Dr. T. Michael Redmond, chief of the NEI Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology, was honored with the 2018 António Champalimaud Vision Award on Sept. 4 in Lisbon, Portugal.
This year’s award, shared by Redmond and six other researchers, recognizes scientific contributions that led to the development of the first gene therapy to successfully treat a human disease. Collectively, their achievements led to the development and 2017 approval of voretigene neparvovec-rzyl (Luxturna) for treating Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), an inherited disorder that causes childhood blindness.
In his 35 years at NEI, Redmond has made foundational scientific discoveries about the molecular biology of the retina, the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye. Since the early 1990s, he has led research efforts to clone, sequence and characterize the function of the RPE65 gene. His work deduced how the gene converts dietary vitamin A, from sources such as carrots, into a form of the vitamin that is central to the workings of the visual cycle, the enzymatic processes by which the eye converts light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.
“We owe much to Michael Redmond for setting a course toward an effective gene therapy for LCA,” said NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving.—Kathryn DeMott