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Dr. Bo Tian Awarded a Grant by Worcester Foundation 2022

Date Posted: Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Bo Tian, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, was awarded the grant from Worcester Foundation, for her project on “Gene therapy of age-related macular degeneration with optimized CRISPR/Cas9 system” during the 2022 cycle. The Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research was established in 1944 to support talented scientists to explore new, groundbreaking ideas and serve to fill critical funding gaps while waiting for federal research grants. In this cycle, Dr. Tian’s proposal was ranked in the top 12% of total applications and successfully funded.  

As Dr. Tian’s mentor and advisor, Dr. Haijiang Lin, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Clinical Vice Chair and Director of Translational Research Center, will guide the proposed project and provide advice for the characterization of the pathologies of AMD in animal models as well as the therapeutic effect potentially achieved.

Wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of visual impairment among elderly patients in developed countries. Currently, anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) therapy is the most common and gold standard treatment. This therapy requires life-long intravitreal injections every four to eight weeks. Dr. Tian proposed an alternative method to develop an anti-VEGF gene therapy strategy by transforming RPE cells to a bio-factory to continuously secrete anti-VEGF agent to inhibit choroidal neovascularization (CNV) using the non-viral approach combined with a biochemically modified CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system. It’s expected that this novel gene editing strategy can explore the potential of a new approach for wet AMD treatment.
Drs. Lin and Bo