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Champalimaud Foundation Unveils C-TRACER in Hyderabad, India

Center to Utilize Stem Cells in Fight Against Blindness

HYDERABAD, India, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Champalimaud Foundation, one of the largest scientific foundations in the European Union, has announced the inauguration of the Champalimaud Center of Translational Eye Research (C-TRACER). The official ceremony will be January 30, 2008 in Hyderabad, India, and will attended by some of the most recognized vision experts and practitioners from Australia, India, the EU, and the U.S., as well as patients who have had their vision restored by the techniques that C-TRACER will utilize throughout the developing world.

C-TRACER is the result of an historic agreement between the Champalimaud Foundation and the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), one of the foremost translational vision research centers in the world. One of only three places in the world which utilizes such techniques, the Institute uses stem cell science in the treatment of blindness, a cutting-edge technique that enables eye doctors to take cells from living adults and use them to grow the outer part of corneas. In one of the most revolutionary procedures in medical science today, doctors at the Institute have also begun using stem cells from the lip to produce corneas for implantation into the blind patient to restore sight.

C-TRACER will focus on the following areas: Research and therapy through the utilization of stem cells in vision-related illnesses; translational research utilizing existing and novel clinical methodologies, with the objective of furthering the knowledge of vision in such a way that it can be readily applied to the patient; exchange programs involving scientists chosen by the LVPEI and the Champalimaud Foundation; and, introduction of "capacity building" programs within Lusophone and other developing countries. In this way, C-TRACER will export the scientific model, thereby demonstrating a major goal of the program: to give new hope to the millions of blind people in the world today.

"With C-TRACER, the Champalimaud Foundation demonstrates its commitment to narrowing the gap between medical and scientific research and its practical applications," said Leonor Beleza, president of the Champalimaud Foundation. "This partnership with the LVPEI is a major step in the quest to eradicate world blindness through multilateral collaboration with some of the world's most prominent researchers and practitioners."

About the Champalimaud Foundation

The Champalimaud Foundation was created in 2004 at the bequest of the late Portuguese industrialist and entrepreneur Antonio de Sommer Champalimaud. With a 500 million endowment, it is one of the largest private foundations in Europe devoted to science. The Foundation is committed to supporting cutting- edge developments in medical science in the fields of vision, neuroscience, and oncology.

NOTE: High-resolution photos, B-Roll, and access to physicians and patients are available upon request.

SOURCE The Champalimaud Foundation
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