Genevolve Makes Strides on Gene Therapy Fix for CVD

Aviation personnel inflicted with color blindness anxious for a permanent fix and frustrated with unfair testing standards – Genevolve has turnkey solutions. 

Color blindness is the most common genetic disorder in humans affecting hundreds of millions around the world. The condition is predominantly present in males and congenital in nature thus it remains unchanged throughout a person’s life. Color blindness can have disastrous effects on the aspirations of pilots and other aviation personnel. One extremely controversial aspect affecting the entire aviation industry, from ATC’s to aircraft inspectors and especially pilots, is current color vision testing methods and the accuracy of results.
There is no globally accepted testing method and this is of particular importance to the European Union as EASA takes over the JAA. One country may test color vision using the oft used and badly outdated Ishihara, invented by Japanese ophthalmologist, Dr. Shinobu Ishiáhaára in 1917. It is a widely accepted fact that the test has inherent flaws, passing some that may have trouble distinguishing colors and denying many that are surely capable of commanding a cockpit. Another country on the other side of the globe may use the Holmes-Wright Lantern or a Farnsworth color arrangement test with each test possessing its own set of validation concerns. If a pilot is to fail any one of these tests, they are normally red-flagged and discriminated against, in the form of stiff restrictions, likely for the rest of their careers’ or worse yet barred from flying altogether. This leads aspiring pilots to pass a test in a country with loose standards and fly into a tightly restrictive country thumbing their nose. If an individual is to slip thru the system, a life of fear of being found out is a constant threat. There is a solution to these unfair testing standards on the horizon which doesn’t include moving to Timbuktu. Genevolve Vision Diagnostics has developed a genetic test for color vision. “It is the first totally objective color vision test that can consistently separate color blind individuals from those with normal color vision and accurately classify color vision deficiencies. As such, it offers a solution to the problem of setting uniform standards in the workplace” said Genevolve president Matt Lemelin. These days, if a medical examiner identifies the slightest color vision defect, a complex and costly battery of tests is ordered or worse yet, the individual is black listed. With all of these tests, each having their own inconsistencies and improprieties, many workplace advocates are clamoring for a globally accepted fair testing standard. The genetic test is a major step towards this goal as it is expected to increase pilot admissions by up to 40% and eliminate false positives by 100%. The test is planned to be available to clinicians by the end of the year. We encourage pilots and other aviation personnel to voice their opinions on theCVD Pilots forum and join forces to overcome the political landscape and adopt fair testing standards.The genetic test, and much of what is known about color vision itself, represents decades of research by the husband and wife team of Jay and Maureen Neitz, PhD., who are both professors of Ophthalmology, and Biological Structure at the University of Washington. "In addition to the genetic test, we have discovered a method to cure color blindness and our goal is to commercialize it by 2013” says Neitz. The procedure using a gene therapy technique, shown effective in monkeys has been featured in the publications, Nature and National Geographic and named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 scientific discoveries of the year. The monkeys have been closely followed after only one treatment applied several years ago. The results are extremely encouraging since the monkey’s color vision is as robust as when the procedure was first applied. “I can see a future where an individual is tested with our genetic test early on in life and the gene therapy procedure is applied as a standard of care, but to reach this goal, we must overcome a few obstacles” said Lemelin. One hurdle is funding; Genevolve is offering an investment opportunity to qualified investors and the company is particularly keen to involve color blind individuals to tap into personal passions of finding a cure. For the most part, regulatory requirements have been met and the initial feedback from the pre-clinical trial is very positive. Further animal testing is being performed as the company is gearing up for actual applications in human beings. To confidentially register as a test subject and to receive regular updates, go to Genevolve's test enrollment page

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