The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private funder of inherited retinal disease research. On an annual basis, the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute finance more than 100 research grants. This year, the Jacksonville chapter held its 10th annual VisionWalk, one of the foundation’s signature events. Grover participates every year with his team Drishti, meaning vision, in support of the families affected by inherited retinal diseases in the region.
“There are various fronts in inherited retinal disease therapy,” Grover said. “Some of the ongoing research involves gene therapy, stem cell treatment or retinal pigment epithelium cell transplant.”
Grover is currently working to bring Luxturna to UF Health Ophthalmology – Jacksonville. It is the first gene therapy treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration for one kind of Leber congenital amaurosis and the only treatment approved so far to treat an inherited retinal disease. Currently, there are nine health care centers across the United States staffed with retina surgeons trained to administer the drug through an injection into the eye. The closest center to Jacksonville is in Miami.
“UF Health Jacksonville was one of only 10 centers in the past to administer an experimental eye treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, and I am hoping we can participate with this treatment at some point.” Grover said.
He hopes this is the first of other medical breakthroughs to come that will one day slow the progression or even reverse it and prevent patients from going blind.
“This particular gene treatment is the first to surface,” Grover said. “It took about 20 to 25 years for this treatment to be proven effective and approved. I think this has paved the way for other forms of treatment that will come faster and hopefully eradicate blindness from inherited retinal diseases.”
For more information about UF Health Ophthalmology – Jacksonville, visit UFHealthJax.org/ophthalmology or call 904.244.9390.