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Mass. Eye and Ear announces Curing Kids Fund grant recipients

Boston (May 15, 2012) The Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids fund has awarded grants for research projects that aim to help the brain locate sound, identify genes that cause congenital blindness, cure deafness through hair cell regeneration, and improve treatment for childhood eye cancer. The 2011/2012 Curing Kids Fund grants were made possible by funds raised from the hospital's annual Sense-sation! gala.

This year's grant recipients are:

  • Bertrand Delgutte, Ph.D. (Mass. Eye and Ear Eaton-Peabody Lab/MIT Research Lab of Electronics) -- "Restoring Binaural Hearing with Cochlear Implants in Early-Onset Deafness," which will study ways that perceptual training can help the brain to locate sounds in subjects with early-onset deafness. Results will eventually lead to new sound processors and rehabilitation strategies for people with bilateral cochlear implants.

  • Eric Pierce, M.D., Ph.D. (Mass. Eye and Ear Ocular Genomics Institute/Berman-Gund Laboratory) --"Disease Gene Discovery for Leber Congenital Amaurosis," seeks to identify new disease genes responsible for Leber Congenital Amaurosis as a step toward developing gene therapies for the disorder, which is an important cause of blindness in children.

  • Fuxin Shi, Ph.D. (Mass. Eye and Ear Eaton-Peabody Lab) -- "Exploiting the Wnt Signaling Pathway for Curing Deafness in Children," which will test the feasibility of curing deafness in children via regeneration of functioning hair cells.

  • Dong Feng Chen, M.D., Ph.D. (Schepens Eye Research Institute) -- "Epigenetic Regulation of Congenital Retinal Dystrophy," which will study gene regulation to reverse vision loss caused by inherited retinal diseases that are the most common cause of childhood blindness.

  • Bruce R. Ksander, Ph.D. (Schepens Eye Research Institute) -- "A New Treatment to Prevent the Development of Drug Resistant Cancer Stem Cells in Retinoblastoma," which will investigate treatment of possible drug-resistant and tumor-initiating cancer stem cells in retinoblastoma, a common eye cancer in children.

The Curing Kids fund was created in 2010 to help bring life-changing treatments to children and to accelerate cures and innovations through research. The 2011 Sense-ation! gala raised more than $1.2 million for the Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids Fund. Curing Kids Fund research grants are competitive grants awarded to Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute investigators.

The five grants awarded are just one aspect of the Curing Kids Fund. Monies from the fund will also provide services for needy children such as eyeglasses and hearing aids, support core research, and seed a Curing Kids endowment for research to help children.


Contact: Vannessa Carrington
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

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