Jennifer J. Lentz, PhD, associate professor at LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, has received a $25,000 donation from the Ush One See Foundation to support her research to develop a new therapy for the treatment of vision loss associated with Usher syndrome.
“We are so grateful for the continued support from the Ush One See Foundation and the Louisiana community,” said Dr. Lentz. “This support is critical to accelerate the development of new therapies for Usher syndrome in Louisiana.”
The overall goal of Lentz’s research is to understand how genetic changes cause Usher syndrome and to develop a therapeutic approach to prevent or cure the deafness and blindness associated with Usher syndrome (Usher), the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness. Her lab focuses on Usher syndrome type 1C (one of three clinical subtypes of Usher syndrome), which affects the Acadian populations of south Louisiana and Canada. Approximately 2.5% of Usher is caused by mutations in the USH1C gene, which encodes the protein harmonin. The USH1C c.216G>A (216A) mutation accounts for nearly all cases of type 1 Usher in Acadian populations. Individuals with type 1 Usher, including type 1C, are born deaf, have difficulty with balance, and have retinitis pigmentosa (progressive blindness) that begins in early adolescence.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to help Dr. Lentz further her pursuits in seeking the best chemistry for her ASO drug therapy,” noted Erin Hebert, board member, Ush One See, Inc. “She and her laboratory are working diligently to hone and perfect this science in order to achieve a cure for Usher syndrome Type 1C which is so prevalent here in south Louisiana. Ush One See is so proud to be able to financially support these promising endeavors.”
Ush One See was founded in May of 2016, in honor of Hunter Faucheaux, who was born on March 12, 2011 with Usher syndrome Type 1C. The foundation is working to raise awareness of Usher syndrome in the Acadiana area. While raising awareness, Ush One See also raises funds to support research to help fund a cure for the vision loss aspect of Usher syndrome.
“The money was raised at our Second Annual Ush One See 5K/10K Race, which was held on Sept. 16 of last year,” said Elise Faucheaux, president of the Ush One See Foundation. “We had over 500 participants and hundreds more friends, family, and supporters from the Acadiana area present. We are excited to keep the momentum going again for our Third Annual Ush One See Race on Sept. 22 at River Ranch Town Square. For more information, please visit ushonesee.com or our @ushonesee Facebook page."