A brand new imaginative and prescient for the therapy of neurodegenerative ailments



Could a brand new paradigm in digital well being deal with blinding problems and probably even be a conduit for treating different components of the mind? A multi-disciplinary workforce of world-renowned researchers at USC are exploring this thrilling risk. Building on many years of information, the success of the world’s first FDA-approved retinal implant to revive sight to the blind, and USC’s present investments, Drs. Mark Humayun, Gianluca Lazzi and Arthur Toga are teaming as much as lead a brand new heart (Center for Neuronal Longevity; CNL) to sort out the formidable challenges of neurodegenerative ailments of the attention and mind.  

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The heart is a cross-campus, multi-school enterprise that brings collectively the Keck School of Medicine, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the School of Pharmacy. Housed within the USC Ginsburg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics led by Humayun, the USC Institute for Technology and Medical Systems led by Lazzi, and the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute led by Toga, CNL additionally seeks to additional USC’s dedication to variety and inclusion in addition to workforce improvement via coaching, schooling, and outreach applications and contains exterior scientific and business advisory boards. 

CNL additionally has a deal with growing shut ties with business leaders with the purpose to assist speed up improvement and translation of groundbreaking applied sciences into the clinic. Twenty/Twenty Therapeutics (a three way partnership between Santen and Verily, an Alphabet firm), centered on digital eyecare, exemplifies such a key industrial partnership. Dr Dimitri Azar, CEO of Twenty/Twenty Therapeutics shares this enthusiasm and stated “we are gratified to be an industrial partner of the USC Center for Neuronal Longevity led by Dr. Mark Humayun. Mark has been a leader in vision restoration, and we plan to collaborate with this exciting new center to develop novel therapies for patients who are experiencing vision problems.”

While neurodegenerative ailments affecting the mind or peripheral nervous system are complicated, all are prompted when nerve cells cease working or die. Currently accessible therapies sluggish the development of some neurodegenerative problems, however none can stop, cease or reverse the harm and plenty of different problems can’t even be slowed down.

Using a pioneering strategy, the USC researchers are delivering electromagnetic stimulation via a minimally invasive contact lens-like platform to sluggish, cease, and even reverse the harm to nerve cells within the eye. Early preclinical research have proven floor stimulation of the attention slows progressive blindness. And whereas their present focus is the attention, the researchers’ long-term purpose is to use the identical applied sciences to alleviate neurodegenerative problems of the mind, akin to Alzheimer’s illness.

“The Center for Neuronal Longevity will deepen our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases – and transform the way we treat them,” stated USC President Carol L. Folt. “By combining the work of three USC schools, interdisciplinary researchers will come together and explore new therapies that use cutting-edge technologies – and draw on those already being used to unravel the workings of the eye and brain. We are incredibly excited to see the medical breakthroughs that will give new hope to people everywhere.”

The present work builds on earlier research by Humayun and Lazzi to develop retinal implants to revive sight for sufferers with close to total blindness. In these gadgets, electrical stimulation is used to bypass broken neurons, relatively than attempt to stop the lack of neurons. Combining these efforts with the imaging and connectomics work of Toga and the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute supplies a singular scientific alternative. In 2016, Humayun obtained a National Medal of Technology & Innovation—the nation’s highest honor in expertise innovation—from President Obama for his work to revive imaginative and prescient in blind sufferers.

“Leveraging USC’s world-class expertise in ophthalmology, bioelectronics, neuroimaging, molecular biology, and outstanding existing infrastructure, we are now building on our retinal implant success and developing the science, medicine, and engineering behind what we think has the potential to be leapfrog digital health technology for prevention or slowing down neurodegenerative diseases,” stated Humayun, who’s Director of USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics and Co-director of the USC Roski Eye Institute.

About Keck School of Medicine

Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is among the nation’s main medical establishments, recognized for progressive affected person care, scientific discovery, schooling and group service. Medical and graduate college students work intently with world-renowned school and obtain hands-on coaching in one of many nation’s most various communities. They take part in cutting-edge analysis as they turn into tomorrow’s well being leaders. With 1200 resident physicians throughout 70 specialty and subspecialty applications, the Keck School is the most important educator of physicians practising in Southern California.


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