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The Vision Institute, the First European Research Centre Dedicated to Eye Diseases

Gilbert Montagné was present at the inauguration of the Vision Institute

Diseases of the retina are the primary causes of blindness in Western countries. Currently, there are more than one million people in France affected by vision problems, 77 000 of whom are blind. That is why UPMC has joined with INSERM and the Quinze-Vingts hospital (which is specialised in vision pathologies) to create the Vision Institute, a European centre for research, care and technology transfer.

The 11.000 m² centre is directed by Alain José Sahel, professor at UPMC and director of the laboratory of cellular and molecular physiopathology of the retina (UMR 592-Inserm-UPMC). It was inaugurated on December 11, 2008 with great ceremony on the site of the prestigious Quinze-Vingts National Ophtalmology Hospital Complex (CHNO).

With the support of INSERM, UPMC and the CHNO, this new institute is one of the biggest centres in Europe dedicated solely to eye disease. Its distinguishing feature is that it has brought together a critical group of international research scientists, clinicians and first-class industrialists. By regrouping the different research actors with complementary skills and facilitating their interaction, the Institute hopes to accelerate the transfer of scientific discoveries via clinical trials to the validation of innovative treatments for patients. The Vision Institute regroups twelve research teams organised into four departments (biology of development, treatment of visual information, genetics and therapy) and around ten companies on site. They share access to superior technical platforms, which allow anything from the most common to the most innovative explorations to be carried out.

The clinical side is assumed by the Quinze-Vingt CNHO Clinical Investigation Centre, whose mission is to study and validate new areas being developed by researchers and industrial groups, with patients’ participation. The Vision Institute teams are working on several emblematic projects that aim to discover the origin of eye diseases, elucidate their mechanisms, slow down their onset or their escalation and develop new treatments for patients. These include identifying genes at the origin of sight loss, developing medication to combat blindness and designing retinal implants, new diagnostic tools and technologies to assist with visual disability.

For more information on current projects:
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20/03/09