Robert MacLaren is Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Oxford Eye Hospital, Honorary Professor of Ophthalmology at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Honorary Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Faculty Member and Founding Theme Leader of the Moorfields-UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Biomedical Research Centre and an NIHR Senior Investigator. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Fellow and former King James IV Professor of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Bodley Fellow of Merton College Oxford and Civilian Consultant Advisor to the Royal Navy. He has been a recipient of the ARVO Camras Award for Translational Research, the RP Fighting Blindness Scientist of the Year Award and the Euretina Innovation Award. Together with the University of Oxford in 2014 he co-founded Nightstar, a biotechnology company based at the Wellcome Trust in London and which has been established to develop further gene therapy treatments for patients with retinal diseases.
- Clinical Ophthalmology Research Group Research Group
MB ChB DPhil FRCOphth FRCS VR
Professor of Ophthalmology
- Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Oxford
- Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon
- Fellow of Merton College
Our clinical and laboratory research is dedicated to finding new treatments for blindness, particularly in patients with incurable retinal diseases, using stem cell-based approaches, gene therapy or electronic retinas. We are also developing new techniques for cataract and retinal surgery. Our recent research achievements include:
- 2017: First in man gene therapy clinical trial for X-linked retinitis pigmentosa in collaboration with Nightstar (BBC World Service).
- 2016: First in man use of a robot to operate inside the eye in collaboration with Preceyes BV (BBC News).
- 2016: Long term efficacy of retinal gene therapy in choroideremia, leading to sustained improvement in visual acuity in patients over several years (New Eng J Med, 2016)
- 2015: Demonstration of efficacy of a new molecular treatment to prevent vitamin A dimerization in a mouse model of Stargardt disease (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2015)
- 2014: Assessment of novel lentiviral vectors for gene therapy in the eye and on human retinal tissues (Hum Gene Ther, 2014)
- 2013: Reconstruction of the outer retina using a cell therapy approach in mice that are completely blind from end-stage retinal degeneration (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2013)
- 2012: First electronic retinal implant surgery in the UK as part of a multicentre clinical trial with Retina Implant AG (Vision Res, 2015)
- 2011: Initial first in man clinical trial of gene therapy to treat choroideremia showing safety and early signs of efficacy (Lancet, 2014)
- 2010: Development of novel cataract surgery techniques for patients with complex retinal diseases (J Cataract Refract Surg, 2011, J Cataract Refract Surg, 2014)
Visual Acuity after Retinal Gene Therapy for Choroideremia.
Edwards TL. et al, (2016), N Engl J Med, 374, 1996 - 1998
Rescue of the Stargardt phenotype in Abca4 knockout mice through inhibition of vitamin A dimerization.
Charbel Issa P. et al, (2015), Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112, 8415 - 8420
Retinal gene therapy in patients with choroideremia: initial findings from a phase 1/2 clinical trial.
MacLaren RE. et al, (2014), Lancet, 383, 1129 - 1137
Reversal of end-stage retinal degeneration and restoration of visual function by photoreceptor transplantation.
Singh MS. et al, (2013), Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110, 1101 - 1106
Retinal repair by transplantation of photoreceptor precursors.
MacLaren RE. et al, (2006), Nature, 444, 203 - 207
Inclusion of the Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus Posttranscriptional Regulatory Element Enhances AAV2-Driven Transduction of Mouse and Human Retina.
Patrício MI. et al, (2017), Mol Ther Nucleic Acids, 6, 198 - 208
Structural and Functional Recovery Following Limited Iatrogenic Macular Detachment for Retinal Gene Therapy.
Simunovic MP. et al, (2017), JAMA Ophthalmol, 135, 234 - 241
Electronic retinal implant surgery.
MacLaren RE., (2017), Eye (Lond), 31, 191 - 195
Will Nanotechnology Bring New Hope for Gene Delivery?
Wong JK. et al, (2017), Trends Biotechnol
Comprehensive Rare Variant Analysis via Whole-Genome Sequencing to Determine the Molecular Pathology of Inherited Retinal Disease.
Carss KJ. et al, (2017), Am J Hum Genet, 100, 75 - 90
Sources of Funding
- The Health Foundation
- The Medical Research Council UK
- The Royal Blind
- The Scottish Council on Visual Impairment
- The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- The Special Trustees of Moorfields Eye Hospital
- The Wellcome Trust
- Fight for Sight
- The Lanvern Foundation
- The Oxford Stem Cell Institute
- The National Institute for Health Research