Brendan Vote

In 2016 Professor Alex Hewitt presented his exciting genetics research at our State Eye Conference.  Alex highlighted how close we are to developing cures for many blinding genetic diseases.  Genetic eye diseases make up 60% of childhood blindness. In adults, two of the leading causes of blindness are Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Glaucoma.   Most of us will know someone affected by a genetic eye disease.  
We have all faced challenges this year with Coronavirus but as Australia comes through those, it remains critical we progress important projects like the build of Alex’s Gene Therapy Centre.   I have taken on the challenge to turn into reality Alex's dream of building Australia’s first dedicated Ophthalmic Gene Therapy Centre
My goal is to raise $50,000.00 over a three part fundraiser (#3B4B).  My wife, Michelle is cringing at the thought of all of this.

On Monday 31st August 2020, the first target is reached and I am officially now a BLOND!

Goal One:         $10,000.00  I will go Bleached Blond
Goal Two:         $25,000.00 I will go Blue
Goal Three:       $50,000.00 I will go Bald

A huge thanks to the team at Sass Hair in Newstead, who will treat my hair at each stage.
All up Tasmanian Eye Institute needs to raise $3 million to build and fit out Alex’s gene therapy centre, so hopefully this will provide a good kickstart. This is all about curing blindness which is one of my great passions for people like Dean and Jodie in the videos below. 

All of us have a genetic code, our DNA, which determines everything from our height to hair colour.  The letters A, T, C and G are the abbreviations for the DNA code.
But when a mistake (or genetic mutation) happens in our genetic code, troubles can develop. These mistakes or errors in the genetic code can run in families or happen out of the blue but when they happen they can be bad enough to cause blindness.  While many genetic diseases are complex, the majority (about 70%) are just a single letter mistake in the genetic code (an A swapped for a C for example).  Over the years we’ve been learning a lot about genes and developing tests that help us diagnose and understand what each gene does.  But finding cures for genetic diseases has been much more elusive.
But a new technology called CRISPR/Cas is changing all that.
CRISPR is an ancient defence mechanism bacteria have against viruses - effectively a memory bank that allows bacteria to recognise the ‘bad’ virus DNA.  The Cas part being like a pair of genetic scissors that can cut out the bad DNA.  Now scientists like Tasmania’s own World leading Ophthalmic genetics expert Professor Alex Hewitt are using CRISPR/Cas to develop cures for these blinding genetic eye diseases.

Brendan Vote