News from the NC Library for the Blind

August 31, 2009

Lauren Tappan reports:

The NC State Library for the Blind is having a day long 50th year celebration on Thursday, Sept 17. They will have music, food and entertainment.  All are welcome.

LOCATION: 1841 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27635

HOURS: 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Monday – Friday

VOICE: (919) 733-4376 (Raleigh area residents)

TOLL-FREE: 1-888-388-2460 (Nationwide)

TDD: (919) 733-1462

FAX: (919) 733-6910



Close Call for Gov. Morehead School for the Blind

August 31, 2009

Lauren Tappan reports.

The recent NFB (National Federation for the Blind)  newsletter stated that we almost lost the Governor Morehead School this year.  There was a proposal in the House to eliminate the Governor  Morehead School.  They proposed that the low-vision/blind students would be sent to the two State schools for the Deaf.  Fortunately, the NFB/Blind community rallied/ lobbied and managed to keep the Governor  Morehead  School  this time around.  You can hear all about it at the September State wide Convention in Raleigh.

Pfizer makes push in Ophthalmic Market

August 31, 2009

Pfizer, the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company, has also undergone a major company-wide restructuring, transitioning from a therapeutic area-based organizational structure to a business unit structure. Under the realignment, disease areas such as ophthalmology, previously thought of as an independent commodity, have been grouped into a specialty care unit, one of five units now operating under the Pfizer flag.

Despite speculation that Pfizer might discontinue its ophthalmology activity after the glaucoma drug Xalatan (latanoprost ophthalmic solution) loses U.S. patent exclusivity in 2011, Pfizer officials said the company is looking to grow its activity in the specialty medicine area of Ophthalmology.

The moves include the acquisition of Wyeth Pharmeceuticals and Rinat Research, and partnerships with Bausch & Lomb. Earlier this year, Pfizer started a phase 1 clinical study for geographic atrophy with a novel compound discovered by Rinat — a biotech partner within the Pfizer Research organization.

Pfizer has signed on to at least nine strategic development partnership agreements since 2004 in search of new biologics or strategies to address a range of eye disorders, including glaucoma, retinal pathologies, anti-infectives and dry eye.

In 2006, for instance, Pfizer signed a pact with Quark Biotechnology to develop a small interfering RNA product that operates in the mTOR pathway, the mammalian target of rapamycin. The compound is currently under investigation as a novel therapeutic in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and/or diabetic retinopathy.

Another effort targeting the back of the eye is a stem cell collaboration with the University College of London. If successful, the stem cell approach might be used for patients with end-stage AMD as well as other degenerative retinal pathologies such as retinitis pigmentosa or geographic atrophy.

The Bionic Eye

August 31, 2009 has two informative articles on the development of a Bionic Eye.

The Bionic Eye, part 1: Is it necessary

The Bionic Eye, part 2: Is it efficient

Lutein is Not Enough

August 31, 2009

A Reminder: Basic vitamin supplements for eye damage & AMD prevention should include Lutein and Zeaxanthin.  Most studies indicate that the necessary daily dose to see long term benefit is 50mg of Lutein and 10mg of Zeaxanthin. Other ingredients that should be included are mixed carotenoids and vitamin E, Beta-carotene and Lycopene.

Remember to wear sunglasses to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Eye Research & Treatment Center in Central Florida

August 31, 2009

Beginning in 1991, the Center for Retina and Macular Disease in Winter Haven has expanded to eight Central Florida locations today: Lakeland, Haines City, Zephyrhills, Clermont, Sebring and smaller, satellite offices in Plant City and Avon Park.

Research at UW-Madison brings hope for people with Macular Degeneration

August 31, 2009

Millions of people who have trouble seeing could someday be cured, thanks to new research at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

David Gamm and Jason Meyer led a team of scientists who converted stem cells from both embryos and human skin into different kinds of retinal cells. This allows comparison of the two stem cell sources.

It took several steps to develop reinal eye cells.His team has not yet proven that retinal cells made in the lab are just as effective as those made naturally in the human body. Meyer hopes to offer that proof in the group’s next projects.

He says an actual cell replacement process is still pretty far off, but it’s not “pie in the sky” anymore.

The initial studies were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.