Clayco Foundation

Clayco Foundation Finding Cures

Clayco Foundation Innovative Research Award

Retinal Vasculopathy with Cerebral Leukoencephalopathy (RVCL)

Innovative Research Award: This award supports investigators, whether based in academia or industry, with funds to conduct novel studies that generate insights into and treatment of RVCL.

Purpose:  Supporting innovative research ideas is essential to develop treatments for RVCL, an ultra-rare vasculopathy caused by mutations in the TREX1 gene. RVCL is a disease that begins in middle-age and is associated with the destruction of small blood vessels, leading to brain lesions (strokes, visual impairment, dementia) and multiorgan vascular damage. The autosomal dominant mutations are within the C-terminal ~120 amino acids of TREX1. The disease process is 100% penetrant and 100% lethal. RVCL is thought to be noninflammatory and ischemic in nature, characterized by endothelial swelling and obliteration of the lumen of small blood vessels. Underlying pathology has been speculated to be a consequence of alterations in DNA damage repair, dysregulation of innate immune pathways, acceleration of cellular senescence, or dysregulated handling of cellular debris.

Research topics related to RVCL and TREX1: Gene therapy, DNA damage repair, TREX1, endothelial cells, macrophages, stroke, ischemia, chronic kidney disease, ischemic bowel, liver failure, vascular disease, vascular dementia, glycosylation, vaso-occlusion, rare diseases, cell senescence.

Award Amount: Up to six awards per year will be awarded, $100,000 – $300,000 (maximum $300,000 per year) for 1-2 years, with an option to renew yearly based on progress.

of Intent Deadline

March 16,


April 15,


July 1,

Term Begins

August 1,

We require a non-binding Letter of Intent to be submitted
by March 16, 2021, with funding to begin August 1, 2021.

Application requirements:

  • A two-page research proposal in NIH format that includes the following sections: (A) Specific Aims, Background, (B) Significance, (C) Innovation, (D) Research Approach, and (E) References. (References are not included in page limit.)
  • NIH Biosketches for all key personnel
  • A one-page outline to include: (A) Budget justification, (B)Facilities and research environment, (C) Animal or human research subjects (if applicable), (D) Proposed milestones at end year one, for continued funding of a two-year research proposal (if applicable)
  • Preliminary data encouraged, but not required.
  • Mouse models and cell lines may be provided with support from the Foundation. 
  • If you have questions about your eligibility or submitting your application, please contact Madonna Bogacki, Clinical Research Coordinator at or call 314-952-8947.
  • Letters of intent and applications can be submitted via email to