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Mass. Eye and Ear Announces Curing Kids Fund Grant Recipients

Contact: Vannessa Carrington
617-573-3341
 
Boston (May 15, 2012) — The Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids fund has awarded grants for research projects that aim to help the brain locate sound, identify genes that cause congenital blindness, cure deafness through hair cell regeneration, and improve treatment for childhood eye cancer. The 2011/2012 Curing Kids Fund grants were made possible by funds raised from the hospital’s annual Sense-ation! gala.
 
This year’s grant recipients are:
 
  • Eric Pierce, M.D., Ph.D. (Mass. Eye and Ear Ocular Genomics Institute/Berman-Gund Laboratory) --“Disease Gene Discovery for Leber Congenital Amaurosis,” which seeks to identify new disease genes responsible for Leber Congenital Amaurosis as a step toward developing gene therapies for the disorder, which is an important cause of blindness in children. 
  • Fuxin Shi, Ph.D. (Mass. Eye and Ear Eaton-Peabody Lab)-- “Exploiting the Wnt Signaling Pathway for Curing Deafness in Children,” which will test the feasibility of curing deafness in children via regeneration of functioning hair cells. 
  • Bruce R. Ksander, Ph.D. (Schepens Eye Research Institute) -- “A New Treatment to Prevent the Development of Drug Resistant Cancer Stem Cells in Retinoblastoma,” which will investigate treatment of possible drug-resistant and tumor-initiating cancer stem cells in retinoblastoma, a common eye cancer in children.  
Under the leadership of Chairman Wyc Grousbeck, the Curing Kids fund was created in 2010 to help bring life-changing treatments to children and to accelerate cures and innovations through research. The 2011 Sense-ation! gala raised more than $1.2 million for the Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids Fund. Curing Kids Fund research grants are competitive grants awarded to Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute investigators.
 
The five grants awarded are just one aspect of the Curing Kids Fund. Monies from the fund also provide services for needy children such as eyeglasses and hearing aids, support pediatric services, and seed a Curing Kids endowment for research to help children.
 
Mass. Eye and Ear hopes to add significantly to the Curing Kids Fund in the years to come. The next Sense-ation! Gala will take place on Oct. 16 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston. For more information, visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/Sense_ation/.
 
About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck.  After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute in 2011, Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston became the world's largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation.  Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships.  Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex.  U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as top five in the nation.  For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org.