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Global Gathering of Vision Researchers Tackle Macular Degeneration

  • Press Release
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WASHINGTON (Oct. 19, 2023) — Next week, 200 vision scientists from across the globe will convene at BrightFocus Foundation’s second Macular Fast Track program on October 23 in Torremolinos, Spain. The immersive workshop, which serves as the pre-symposium of the International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration (RD2023), trains promising graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other early-career scientists focused on vision research to help speed progress toward a cure for macular degeneration. 

As our understanding of the disease continues to evolve, there are new opportunities to develop treatments. This workshop, taught by preeminent macular degeneration researchers, helps to accelerate the learning curve and inspire game-changing ideas while offering invaluable networking opportunities among new and seasoned researchers. 

This year’s program will highlight the latest discoveries in macular degeneration research, including new retinal imaging tools and treatments and lifestyle factors that influence the risk of developing the disease, which affects as many as 20 million U.S. adults.  

“This unique, immersive learning opportunity for passionate and dedicated early-career vision researchers provides an overview of what’s new and notable in the field of macular degeneration research while connecting participants to some of the brightest minds tackling this disease around the world,” said Preeti Subramanian, PhD, director of vision science research at BrightFocus Foundation.  

“The phenomenal lineup of speakers and the large number of participation and interest from the scientific community will make it an engaging and productive discussion and learning opportunity.” 

To expand access to Macular Fast Track and further promote diversity and inclusivity in the field, BrightFocus supported eight attendees with diversity travel awards to attend RD2023 and Macular Fast Track. 

BrightFocus, a premier funder of biomedical research to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma is committed to bolstering and enabling the innovative ideas of scientists from around the world to push the boundaries of scientific research. Since 1999, its Macular Degeneration Research program has invested more than $50 million in research. 

Now celebrating its 50th year, BrightFocus has funded nearly $290 million to date in early investigative research across more than 6,000 scientists (and two Nobel Prize winners) that include such novel age-related macular degeneration (AMD) breakthroughs as:  

  • Supporting fundamental research leading to the discovery of the first anti-VEGF therapy for wet AMD—still the gold standard for helping to slow or stop vision loss in people with wet AMD today. 

  • Laying the foundation for the discovery of the complement pathway, part of the immune system, as being involved in the onset of AMD. 

  • Expanding CRISPR gene-editing technology that could one day help treat genetic conditions like AMD.  

Explore a full timeline of historic advancements and read about the latest breakthroughs made possible through our grants.

Media Contacts 

Julia Roth 
(301) 556-9366  

Kaci Baez 
(301) 556-9370 

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