Finance Expert Aims to Cure Blindness

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Karen Petrou says the problem is not scientific; it’s financial.

After a highly successful career as “the sharpest mind analyzing banking policy today,” Karen Petrou is now focused on the task of curing blindness, the Washington Monthly reports.

At 65, Petrou now wants to use her professional expertise to make an impact outside her field, and is aiming at the source of her own personal adversity.

Petrou is the brain behind a bill introduced in Congress last July to create so-called Eye Bonds, a package of loans, backed by a limited government guarantee, to support research into blindness cures that would otherwise stall.

Petrou was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in her teens. In her case the disease progressed slowly, so she didn’t completely lose her sight until recent years. But she lived in dread of what was to come.

Now she focuses on getting promising treatments past the “Valley of Death,” as researchers refer to the daunting process of human trials leading to approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

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