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Stem Cell Injection Soon To Reverse AMD PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Friday, 17 April 2015

An injection of stem cells into the eye may soon slow or reverse the effects of early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to new research from scientists at Cedars-Sinai. Currently, there is no treatment that slows the progression of the disease, which is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 65.

"This is the first study to show preservation of vision after a single injection of adult-derived human cells into a rat model with age-related macular degeneration," said Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study published in the journal STEM CELLS and a research scientist in the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute.

The stem cell injection resulted in 130 days of preserved vision in laboratory rats, which roughly equates to 16 years in humans. When animal models with macular degeneration were injected with induced neural progenitor stem cells, which derive from the more commonly known induced pluripotent stem cells, healthy cells began to migrate around the retina and formed a protective layer. This protective layer prevented ongoing degeneration of the vital retinal cells responsible for vision.

Cedars-Sinai researchers in the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core, directed by Dhruv Sareen, PhD, with support from the David and Janet Polak Foundation Stem Cell Core Laboratory, first converted adult human skin cells into powerful induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which can be expanded indefinitely and then made into any cell of the human body. In this study, these induced pluripotent stem cells were then directed toward a neural progenitor cell fate, known as induced neural progenitor stem cells, or iNPCs.

"These induced neural progenitor stem cells are a novel source of adult-derived cells which should have powerful effects on slowing down vision loss associated with macular degeneration," said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and contributing author to the study. "Though additional pre-clinical data is needed, our institute is close to a time when we can offer adult stem cells as a promising source for personalized therapies for this and other human diseases."

Next steps include testing the efficacy and safety of the stem cell injection in preclinical animal studies to provide information for applying for an investigational new drug. From there, clinical trials will be designed to test potential benefit in patients with later-stage age-related macular degeneration.

Luxottica Opens New Luxe Boutique in Melbourne PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 16 April 2015

OPSM 233 Collins St MelbourneLuxottica's retail chain OPSM has introduced a new luxury store situated in the heart of Melbourne's premium fashion precinct – OPSM on Collins. The boutique houses an array of frames from a number of coveted brands, including some of Australia's most expensive optical frames and sunglasses.

Located at 233 Collins Street, OPSM on Collins is a premium eyewear destination for the fashion-focused, whilst providing high quality eyewear and eyecare services. The store features a tightly curated range of luxury and fashion eyewear, with 60% of the store's range being luxury frames and sunglasses from the likes of Bvlgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Oliver Peoples, Prada and Versace. OPSM on Collins will stock the Bvlgari Le Gemme optical frames priced at $7500 – the most expensive pair of optical frames currently available in Australia. Also available for purchase is one of the most expensive pair of sunglasses in Australia, the Dolce & Gabbana Mosaico valued at $7800.

OPSM Senior Buyer, Rebecca Demetriou scours the world securing the latest and greatest in fashion-forward sunglass and optical styles. She says the focus when building the offering at OPSM on Collins was to showcase the best-of-the-best and highlight the delicate craftsmanship and materials used to create the luxury pieces on range.

OPSM on Collins has adopted the new OPSM store design and will be the second store with this look and feel after the opening of Macquarie Centre in September 2014. Eyewear on Collins is open now at 233 Collins Street, Melbourne

Apple Watch To Provide Visually Impaired Full Access to Device Features PDF
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Product News
Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Apple WatchAt the end of this month Apple will release its Apple Watch, a smart watch that offers full accessibility to users who are blind or have low vision thanks to its built-in accessibility features. The watch, which is already available to pre-order is available in stores from Friday 24 April.

Apple describes the watch as their most personal device yet and claims on their website: "To make the best use of its size and location on your wrist, Apple Watch has all-new interactions and technologies. They let you do familiar things more quickly and conveniently. As well as some things that simply weren’t possible before." The device contains features such as VoiceOver, Zoom, Larger Dynamic Type, Bold Text, Grayscale, Reduce Motion, Reduce Transparency, On/Off Labels, and Mono Audio.

According to David Woodbridge, Adaptive Technology Consultant at Vision Australia, one of the most exciting features is a tactile alert linked to the GPS function. "The watch vibrates using a different pattern to let you know when you need to turn left or right to reach your destination," said Mr Woodbridge. "It also means I can answer my phone without having search for it in my bag,” he added. “And I can use it to post social media updates on the move."

Mondottica Launches Hackett UTX Sunnies PDF
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Product News
Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hacket UTXUK eyewear company Mondottica has just launched its first Hackett UTX sunglasses. The fit is immaculate, the finishes impeccable; this is great British eyewear at its most authentic.

Introducing new lightweight silhouettes combined with vintage inspired eye shapes as seen in HSB835, details are authentic with real riveted hinges and metal end pieces. Each handmade frame is fitted with anti-reflective reverse coated lenses for a flawless finish.

Hackett's collections are available globally and are celebrated for their re-interpretation of British style for today's gentleman as well as their quality. From bespoke tailoring to iconic sports garments, Hackett's fineries are as at home at Sandringham, as they are at Silverstone.

Avalanche Biotechnologies Announces Gene Therapy Medicines to Treat Color Blindness PDF
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Monday, 13 April 2015

Color Vision AwarenessUS company Avalanche Biotechnologies recently announced that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle to develop products based on Avalanche's proprietary Ocular BioFactory™ Platform for the treatment of color vision deficiency (CVD), commonly known as red-green color blindness.

Avalanche will build on gene therapy research conducted by the research team at the UW. They used gene therapy to confer color vision in two adult male squirrel monkeys that had been colorblind since birth. This groundbreaking work demonstrating proof-of-concept for treating CVD was published in the journal Nature.

In addition, Avalanche launched, a disease awareness website designed to help people suffering from color blindness better understand their condition. The website provides the opportunity for people to sign up to be among the first to receive information about potential research study opportunities or therapies for color blindness that become available.

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