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Oct. 16 Science Pub Talk: How gene therapy, stem cells can help cure blindness



 Martha Neuringer Ph.D.
Martha Neuringer Ph.D.

“Science Pub Portland: Curing Blindness,” featuring OHSU’s Martha Neuringer, Ph.D., on using gene therapy to treat retinal diseases


7-9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018


Empirical Theater, OMSI, 1945 SW Water Ave., Portland, OR


From beating a disease that causes blindness to fighting cancer, gene therapy is no longer science fiction.

OHSU neuroscientist Martha Neuringer, Ph.D., will discuss how gene therapy is already curing blindness – and its potential to do more in the future.

Neuringer, a professor of neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center and a research associate professor of ophthalmology at the OHSU Casey Institute, will give a talk titled, “Curing Blindness: Gene Therapy, Stem Cells and Diet.”

Neuringer’s laboratory studies the retina, a layer of nerve cells lining the back of the eye that senses light to give us vision. She specifically uses nonhuman primates, with eyes very similar to humans, to study retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly, with the goal of developing treatments for such diseases in humans.

The FDA has approved three gene therapy treatments for human use so far. One treats a rare, blindness-causing genetic mutation and is offered by the OHSU Casey Eye Institute. Another treats a form of lymphoma and is offered by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Neuringer will discuss how gene therapy for eye disease works, which blinding diseases it can currently treat, and the long list of diseases it could also treat in the future.

She joined the Oregon National Primate Research Center in 1970 as a postdoctoral researcher and has been with OHSU ever since. She holds a doctorate degree in physiological psychology from Harvard University.

Cost: $5 for an advanced ticket with reserved seat or a suggested $5 donation at the door

For more information or to purchase a ticket online, click here.


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