Emerging treatments for macular degeneration are the focus of free seminar on January 6

To provide Southwest Florida residents, visitors and the medical community with the latest research and news on treatment options for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Retina Health Center and the Foundation Fighting Blindness will host the tenth annual Southwest Florida Macular Degeneration Symposium on Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, located at 5001 Coconut Rd. in Bonita Springs, Fla. There will be two identical sessions from 9 a.m.- noon and 2-5 p.m. Admission to the symposium is free, but seating is limited.

To register for the seminar, call 800-586-6765 or visit www.fightblindness.org/bonitaseminar.

Retina specialist Dr. Dean Eliott from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), a Harvard Medical School affiliate, will share groundbreaking research on the use of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of dry AMD. This work is being done in collaboration with Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT), which has developed a stem cell line MA09hRPE designed to restore the function of the retina and improve vision in individuals affected with AMD.  In the U.S., ACT is a leader in stem research, and is the only company with active FDA-monitored trials of stem cell implantation that began in November.

Eliott specializes in developing novel approaches to combat retinal disease, such as AMD. At MEEI, Eliott serves as the Medical Director for MEEI, Retina Consultants. Before joining the ranks of MEEI, Eliott was Professor of Ophthalmology, Director of Clinical Affairs, and Director of Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine’s Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he served on the faculty at Kresge Eye Institute (KEI) in Detroit for 12 years, where he served as Director of the Retina Service and as Vitreoretinal Fellowship Director. As a researcher, Eliott is actively engaged in many major government and industry-sponsored clinical multicenter trials aiming to bring new drugs and devices to market.

In addition to Eliott’s presentation, Drs. Alexander Eaton and Hussein Wafapoor of Retina Health Center will provide an overview of macular degeneration and an update on a new injection device to improve the safety and comfort of patients undergoing eye injections.  They will also discuss ongoing studies at Retina Health Center that are helping patients on a local, national and international level. Attendees will also hear from Dr. Timothy Schoen of The Foundation Fighting Blindness with a global perspective on retinal degenerative disease research.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (www.FightBlindness.org) is the largest source of non-governmental funding for retinal degenerative disease research in the world. The urgent mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. In addition to funding research, the Foundation provides free information and resources to patients.

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