KEN FITZMAURICE, OUR HERO, RUNNING A MARATHON FOR UVEITIS
We are really excited to tell you that Ken Fitzmaurice, a qualified Pilates instructor, is running in the 2011 marathon to raise funds for Uveitis research. Please dig deep and donate to this cause – it should help us find more targeted and less toxic medication. To donate, just go to:
Ken wanted to run for BUS (Birdshot Chorioretinopathy Uveitis Society), but because we are so small (just Annie and Rea) and we have concentrated on working to support people with Birdshot and raising the profile of the disease, rather than raising funds, we do not have the money to pay the very large entrance fee for marathon runners.
So, in a unique and first ever partnership, Fight For Sight has entered Ken into the London Marathon under their membership, on our behalf. Fight For Sight is a large charity that raises money for research, and we have been working with them for some time now. The money raised by Ken will be going towards research being undertaken by Dr John Curnow and Professor Phil Murray. Below is a description of the research project, which we are hoping will lead to less toxic medication for all of us. You may know that Professor Murray is one of the several prominent ophthalmologists that works with us through our Mother charity, UIG (Uveitis Information Group), and has been enormously helpful to BUS too. We are so pleased to be able to raise money for this project, so please dig deep – you never know – this might just be the research that helps us get a better quality of life.
Description of research: Ocular regulatory T cells in Uveitis: Uveitis is the 5th commonest cause of visual loss in the developed world and is characterised by a large increase in the number of white blood cells (T cells) entering the inflamed eye. Some of these cells are aggressive (effector T cells) and cause damage to the eye. However another group of cells are designed to switch off the aggressive cells, and are termed regulatory cells (regulatory T cells). The role of these regulatory cells in uveitis is not well understood.
This project aims to determine if the regulatory cells and aggressive cells use different mechanisms to be recruited to the eye in inflammation. In addition it is possible that the inflamed eye may prevent the regulatory cells from functioning properly. The data generated will further our understanding of how regulatory cells control inflammation in uveitis. In addition it is hoped to identify new therapeutic targets that will either prevent recruitment of pathogenic cells while still allowing regulatory cells to go to the eye, or allow the regulatory cells to switch off aggressive cells more efficiently.
This may ultimately lead to the development and testing of appropriate new biological therapies for the treatment of patients with sight-threatening Uveitis, such as Birdshot Chorioretinopathy.