Clear vision to beat eye disease

Professor David MacKey is hoping a UK gene therapy trial can help Australians with inherited retinal disease.Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d439808
Professor David MacKey is hoping a UK gene therapy trial can help Australians with inherited retinal disease.Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d439808

The Subiaco-based professor was recently awarded the Kevin Bell Churchill Fellowship, valued at $25,000, to help make his vision a reality.

Professor MacKey said the fellowship would allow him to get involved with the first gene therapy trials in the UK that could significantly slow the degeneration of the retina in specific inherited retinal disease.

�What I am trying to work out is how Australian people with these quite rare disorders can participate in the studies in the UK,� Professor MacKey said

Over the past 20 years, Professor MacKey said medical professionals had been collecting information about all the families with inherited eye diseases throughout Australia.

He said the large-scale research project could involve flying these patients over for treatment in the UK and then monitoring them back in Australia.

�It may be that for some we can do everything here for them in Australia, but it�s likely we�ll need to set up a system where people go to the UK for the initial treatment,� Professor MacKey said.

�Then we do the follow-up here in Australia according to the very strict research protocols they will set up in the UK.�

Professor MacKey said he hoped to begin the research in July 2016.