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Hungarian Scientist Wins €1 Million Prize For Groundbreaking Research That Could Eventually Restore Sight in Blindness

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This year’s Körber Prize for European Science has gone to a Hungarian scientist whose revolutionary gene-editing treatment could cure a type of blindness that affects around one in 4,000 children.

Cell biologist Botond Roska’s work against a kind of degenerative eye disease is currently going through clinical trials.

Roska received the prestigious award of €1 million last week for his pioneering work on the human retina that has placed him among the world leaders in the study of ophthalmology—work that included the presumably painstaking effort of identifying over 100 different retina cell types and their complex interrelations.

To that end, he has discovered a possible cure for retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that causes mutations in the genes that code for proteins needed to make human photoreceptors—the cell which identifies light and allows us to see. Unlike other forms of visual degenerations that correlate with age, retinitis pigmentosa often starts in childhood, and can lead to blindness.

While rare, it is one of the most common causes of degenerative blindness.

Roska’s work on novel gene therapies, which he carries out in the University of Basel, Switzerland, involves the reprogramming of retina cells into photoreceptors, thereby taking over from the damaged ones and restoring light and color in blind retinas.

The Körber Prize is given every year to a single European in the disciplines of life sciences and physical sciences.

This is the fifth major recognition the scientist from Budapest has won since he abandoned the cello and started studying medicine: Under his belt already is the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine for his discoveries about visual information processing, and the Hungarian Saint Stephen Order from President János Áder, among other awards.

4 Comments

  • Ogbonna Nwachukwu

    Ogbonna Nwachukwu

    4:26 AM, 13-09-2020

    This is very commendable & hope it'll not be politicized that those who needs it have access to it.

    Reply
  • Bubacarr

    Bubacarr

    7:20 AM, 12-09-2020

    This discovery will help mlilions of people' in the world

    Reply
  • Ray Cooney

    Ray Cooney

    1:45 AM, 12-09-2020

    The prize is well deserved for the wonderful work he is doing, imagine being a child and knowing you have this rare disease and you will have a future of darkness ahead of you.

    Reply
  • Nawi Mabo

    Nawi Mabo

    9:14 PM, 11-09-2020

    Welcome news! Despite C-19, we are hearing news on breakthroughs that gives great hope despite the current blanket of negativism caused by the Scamdemic!

    Reply

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