The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme „ Gene and Cell Based Therapies to Counteract Neuroretinal Degeneration” (SPP 2127). The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.
Gene and cell based therapies take centre stage in the attempt to find effective ways to treat rare diseases. Vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophies is a severe burden for 2–4 million patients worldwide and innovative strategies defeating neuronal dysfunction and cell loss are urgently needed. The current state of the art has advanced quite rapidly in the field of experimental therapies of inherited retinal dystrophies (IRD), with the first drugs approved, clinical trials ongoing for several disorders, and morphological and functional rescue to a certain level evident.
To further improve the development of therapeutic applications in this striving field of science, the results of the first three-year funding period, new data from current trials and preclinical experimentations as well as the improved understanding of the pathology of IRD require continued work at high level.
The major points arising in this striving field can be allocated to four main topics that are closely related and intercalate with each other. They represent the inclusion criteria for participation in the second funding period of the Priority Programme:
(A) Gene based therapies
(B) Cell based therapies
(C) Factors influencing the outcome of gene and cell based therapies
(D) Read-out parameters
To foster optimal synergy and collaboration between groups, proposals aimed at treating acquired age related disorders of the retina or glaucoma as well as projects focusing on the clinical description of disorders or addressing mainly genotype-phenotype correlations are excluded from the Priority Programme.
Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 1 September 2021. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.