Research appeal 2019

Lynda Cantor alongside a thermometer showing 50% full (in red)

Help my vision to become a reality

When I founded this charity 43 years ago almost nothing was known about inherited retinal conditions like mine. But in November the very first gene therapy was approved in Europe* and every week we learn about new breakthroughs around the world. My vision of treatments for our community is becoming a reality.

This increase in pace brings real hope. We need to build on the momentum, but research is expensive and our funds are limited. That’s why I’m urging you to help today.

In 2018 we awarded £450,000 in new research grants. But this is not nearly enough. We turn down over half of promising projects because we simply don’t have the money. You can change this.

Please donate what you can to help us fund more research into retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, choroideremia, Usher syndrome and many other inherited retinal conditions.

The progress we are witnessing is thanks to our community’s ongoing commitment and determination. We are relying on your continued support.

Thanks to you scientists we fund are:

  • hunting for new genes and investigating those already identified. But 40% of our community don’t have a genetic diagnosis. Help us find everyone’s gene.
  • researching potential gene therapies. But their projects are reliant on our continued funding.
  • screening promising drugs and learning what causes inherited retinal conditions. But there is much more to do.
* for a form of Leber congenital amaurosis caused by a fault on the RPE65 gene

The difference your gift makes to families

The Baker Family

Like many of you, we know what it is like to live with an inherited sight loss condition. Last year we learned our five-year-old son Thomas has Usher syndrome which is slowly impacting his hearing and sight.

He is a bright, sociable and caring boy. While we are positive about the future, it feels uncertain. We are awaiting the results of genetic tests and hope these will give us clarity and the option to access potential treatments in the future.

As a family we fundraise and donate to Retina UK, a positive way to make a difference for Thomas. We hope the research we help fund will one day lead to a treatment for Thomas and others like him.

Hannah Baker,
mum of Thomas

The difference your gift makes to research

Hajrah Sarkar in the Lab

I hope that our work might help scientists working on other retinal diseases to find pieces of their own puzzles. Our goal is always to find a treatment; we know that families affected by sight loss are coping with such a lot.

Hajrah Sarkar
PhD student, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Rachel Taylor in the lab

Ophthalmic genetics is well known to be one of the most pioneering areas of clinical research. Gaining insight into the function of genes can lead us to identify patterns that apply to other retinal conditions. Ultimately, this provides a really strong basis for the development of more effective treatments for the whole community.

Rachel Taylor
Fellow in Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester

A huge thank you to supporters of Retina UK who donate time and money. Their generosity allows me to work on my project and pays for essential lab equipment which is critical to gaining new insights into the development and progression of inherited retinal diseases.

Jenny Dewing
Postdoctoral researcher, University of Southampton

Because of my work, people will be more likely to know which gene is faulty, the chance of the disease passing down to their children and, in some cases, how the disease will progress. Our research also brings hope. Gene therapy has made huge progress in recent years, bringing with it the very real possibility that inherited sight loss could be stabilised or even cured.

Jing Yu
Research Assistant, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Tomasz Tomkiewicz

The world of inherited retinal disease is so complex; I think we will never run out of causes and hypotheses to investigate… Stargardt disease often begins at a relatively young age, particularly in more severe cases, and I really hope that my work will make a difference in these situations. I really want to be a part of the effort to give young people the chance to see and experience the world with their own eyes.

Tomasz Tomkiewicz
PhD Student, Radboud University Medical Centre, The Netherlands