Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, is a professor of ophthalmology and director of the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.At Penn, she studied the genetics of retinitis pigmentosa - a group of inherited diseases that gradually destroy sight.She used an adeno-associated virus as her vector to ferry the corrected gene into the eye.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 team was the first to enroll pediatric subjects with a nonlethal disease as gene therapy participants.She has received numerous awards and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians, and she served on the Board of Directors, American Society for Cell and Gene Therapy.
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University of Pennsylvania
Biogen and the University of Pennsylvania said today they are launching up to $2 billion in collaborations aimed at developing gene therapies targeting the eye, skeletal muscle and central nervous system . Biogen said it will work with two gene therapy researchers at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine—James Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and pediatrics, and director of Penn's gene therapy program; and Jean Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and cell and developmental biology and director of the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics. Biogen agreed to use its therapeutic area and target identification expertise and drug development capabilities to help advance the collaboration programs into clinical phases and eventual approval. Biogen agreed to pay Penn $20 million upfront, and an additional $62.5 million to fund R&D costs over the next three to five years in seven distinct preclinical R&D programs conducted by the laboratories of Dr. Wilson and Dr. Bennett.
Three research teams that developed a revolutionary gene therapy for the treatment of Leber Congenital Amaurosis have been recognised with a €1m award . The combined work of the researchers led to the first gene therapy cure for an inherited human disease and opens the way to new treatments for genetic conditions. Alongside the UK researchers, the contribution of US scientists Jean Bennett, Albert Maguire, Michael Redmond, Samuel Jacobson and William Hauswirth was also recognised through the award. "It is a highly prestigious award that recognises the combined contributions of several groups internationally towards the development of a new treatment to improve the quality of life of people who are affected by blinding eye disease," he shared.