Dr. Sandipan Datta recently received a prestigious Knight's Templar Eye Foundation (KTEF) Career Starter grant for $65,000 to fund research on retinoblastoma. Datta, a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Professor Gino Cortopassi, is interested in understanding how drugs that modulate mitochondrial function may protect from eye cancer.

“This fund will help me to conduct a proof-of-concept study to determine whether increasing mitochondria in cancer cells make them more sensitive to standard chemotherapy and slow down their growth,” Datta said. “If successful, this can translate into a new approach to treat tumors. Without these funds, I would not have been able to test this hypothesis and generate the preliminary data which is necessary for further large-scale preclinical and clinical studies.”

The drugs that can enhance mitochondrial health and function can also be applied to other diseases where mitochondria play a key role in development of the disease. 

KTEF has been committed to preserving sight and preventing blindness since its founding in 1955. As of April 2016, the organization has contributed $148 million to research, patient care and education.