By Rebecca Salowe
Scheie Vision Annual Report 2018
In September 2018, three Penn Medicine ophthalmologists were awarded the António Champalimaud Vision Award for their groundbreaking work leading to the first gene therapy for an inherited disease. These researchers included Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology; Samuel Jacobson, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology; and Albert M. Maguire, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology.
They shared this year’s one million Euro prize with four other researchers, who worked synergistically to develop a gene therapy for retinal degenerations caused by the RPE65 gene mutation. This therapy restored vision in children and adults with the mutation and received historic FDA approval in 2017.
The other recipients of the award included Robin Ali, PhD and James Bainbridge, MD, PhD of the University College of London; Michael Redmond, PhD of the National Institutes of Health; and William W. Hauswirth, PhD of the University of Florida College of Medicine. All recipients plan to use the award to advance their research programs.
Based in Lisbon, Portugal, the Champalimaud Foundation was established in 2004. This award is given to the scientists with the greatest contribution to vision research worldwide.