Surgeon scientist Jim Bainbridge is professor of retinal studies at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital. It is a unique and privileged situation to have the institute adjacent to Moorfields and the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre, enabling Jim to seamlessly combine his clinical and research activities. The joint team includes scientists and clinicians with a wide range of skills, providing the expertise required to develop new treatments.
Jim led the world’s first clinical trial of gene therapy for inherited blindness and is pioneering a gene therapy treatment for Leber Congenital Amaurosis Type 4 (LCA4), which is a rare form of blindness affecting young children.
With the funds raised through a Moorfields Eye Charity appeal, Jim and his team have been able to significantly advance their work to manufacture and quality test a vector (a harmless virus that delivers the gene into the cells that need it) that will hopefully treat LCA4. Several paediatric patients have been identified as potential candidates for this experimental approach.
The team is also looking at a number of similar conditions and the first results from other studies have been encouraging. An eight year old boy who really struggled to socialise during the winter months because of his night blindness participated in the study and his vision and social life has greatly improved. He now has the confidence to play outside with his friends.
Read more about the Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre in 'Transforming lives for 10 years'.