Researchers in Ireland are upping the ante in the fight against age-related macular degeneration with the official opening of what is being billed as a one-of-a-kind facility, reported the Silicon Republic today.
When the €4m Vision Research Centre officially opens its doors this afternoon, it will start out as the sole research and vision testing facility in its niche globally and will spearhead cutting-edge research in areas such as macular degeneration, Silicon Republic said on its website.
The Vision Research Centre, affiliated with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in Ireland, will commence operations with 10 researchers who will be employed full-time. They will include ophthalmologists, vision scientists, optometrists, nutritionists, statisticians and biochemists.
According to Silicon Republic, the spanking-new centre will house the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG), which is committed to conducting intensive studies in on macular degeneration, a condition that is believed to adversely impact as much as 80,000 people living in Ireland, costing the country as much as €133m annually.
The article cited Dr. John Nolan, MPRG’s lead investigator, as saying that the Vision Research Centre is unique because it centralizes cutting-edge vision-testing tools under one proverbial roof. He added that it also provides scientists and persons pursuing their PhDs with opportunities to lead full-fledged clinical trials. Meanwhile, WIT President Dr. Ruaidhrí Neavyn was cited as saying in the article that the new centre will serve to enhance the reputation of both WIT and MPRG.
According to the article, MPRG is currently working on a number of projects. The most significant study, CREST Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial, is focusing not only on the impact of nutritional supplements on vision, but also on how they can avert the onset of macular degeneration. The European Research Council has provided funding worth €1.5m for the trial. Nolan added in the article that the funding gave MPRG the financial wherewithal to boost its research staff by five persons.
Three other projects are in progress, said Nolan, who added in the article that Nutrasight Consultancy and Howard Foundation will provide funding. Researchers are also planning to work on a project later this year that will study the role nutrition can play in keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
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