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Casino Mogul Plays His Cards To Cure Blindness In Iowa

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) The University of Iowa was celebrating on Thursday after a multi-million dollar announcement at the Board of Regents meeting in Ames.

Las Vegas casino mogul, Stephen A. Wynn, gave the University a gift of $25 million dollars for their Institute for Vision Research. Curing heritable human blindness is a personal passion for Wynn who suffers from a rare eye disease himself.

The possibilities are endless right now and to have support from people like Steve Wynn and Steve Dezzi and others, it's phenomenal, University of Iowa President Sally Mason said.

The gift will help fund research into all forms of genetic blindness. That will include the most common, age-related macular degeneration, and also rare diseases.

Where the lights are off, they're now going to come on, Steve Dezii, the Executive Director with the Stephen A. Wynn Foundation said.

UI researchers want to start at the beginning by preventing vision loss from ever happening in children. They also want to help those who have completely lost all perception of light.

 We want to be able to work with that patient and put some new photo receptor cells back in their retina and get some functional vision back, Edwin Stone, M.D., PhD, and Director of the University of Iowa Stephen A Wynn Institute for Vision Research said.

Some of the conditions the institute will work to cure may only be experienced by one person in America.

The rarer conditions, although individually rare, are collectively very common, Stone explained.

And the Stephen Wynn Foundation said Iowa is the place where they believe breakthroughs will happen.

The goal of this gift, and the reason why we chose Iowa was a painstaking effort to try and find the best place in world to cure blindness, Dezzi said.

And we can do it, this group can do it! Mason added.

The University of Iowa's Institute for Vision Research is now named the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research.


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