Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics (CAROT) at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, is a pioneer in retinal gene therapy. She has developed gene transfer approaches to test treatment strategies for retinal degenerative and ocular neovascular diseases, to elucidate retinal differentiation pathways and to identify pathogenetic mechanisms that lead to blindness. Her research, conducted at Penn over the past 22 years, has established the scientific underpinnings which made it possible to test the first potential definitive retinal gene therapy treatment for patients with blinding retinal degenerations. Dr. Bennett is the Scientific Advisor of a gene therapy clinical trial for a congenital blindness. This study, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is in Phase 3 (pivotal) studies and could lead to approval of the first ocular gene therapy drug.
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