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Vision Science

Center of Economic Excellence

Inception

2005

Award Amount

$4.5 million

External Funding Above Match

$26.2 million

Research Focus

New treatments for macular degeneration, development of new anti-glaucoma agents and innovations in cataract surgery. Center also focuses on using advances in bioengineering and material sciences to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of eye diseases.

University Partner

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
University of South Carolina

Private Sector Partner

Alcon Labs, Taligen, Alexion Pharmaceuticals

The Vision Science SmartState Center focuses on new gene and pharmaceutical bases for the treatment of macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and other eye diseases. The Center's chairs will have expertise in gene and pharmaceutical-based treatments for retinal degenerative diseases as well as bioengineering and material science techniques to develop novel products for improving surgical outcomes and drug delivery.

The Center’s most significant scientific accomplishments to date are in the pathogenesis of macular degeneration and whether or not vitamin A derivatives can be used to treat the disease. The Center also seeks to determine whether changing protein acetylation status can prevent or slow vision loss due to glaucoma.

Partners include Alcon Labs, Alimera Scientific, Inotek Pharmaceutics, QLT Inc., Taligen Inc., and Pfizer. In 2009, the Storm Eye Institute, in which the Vision Science Center resides, purchased a Spectralis HRT+OCT—the only one in South Carolina—allowing researchers to efficiently translate basic findings into new therapies.

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