(Dallas, TX – August 2015) The Retina Foundation of the Southwest and Southern Methodist University Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering are bringing a new meaning to the term collaboration utilizing an innovation approach that is set apart from any in the United States.
The Clinical Center of Innovation for Age-Related Macular Degeneration was established earlier this year through a $2.5 million grant from The W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas. The goal of the Center is to expedite treatments and develop better ways to diagnose macular degeneration by combining strengths, expertise and resources from both institutions that will open up new avenues for innovation.
Biomedical research is the leading method of developing treatments and diagnostics for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the number one cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. The approach to researching treatments could be enhanced through collaboration. By combining the expertise of scientists and engineers, it could steer the research in a new direction, resulting in an alternative approach that could expedite the success rate of innovating treatments for AMD.
“The expectation is that this new process will help us to achieve a more rapid turnaround of treatments from ‘bench to bedside,’” said Dr. Karl Csaky, Chief Medical Officer and T. Boone Pickens Senior Scientist at the Retina Foundation and the Director of the Center.
The Retina Foundation of the Southwest is a leader in translational research and for more than 30 years has served as a pipeline for new treatments to transfer from the laboratory to the clinic. The Center of Innovation will be the first partnership between the Foundation and SMU and the goal is to establish a new process of research and development that can be replicated by institutions across the nation. The collaboration will also advance treatments for AMD using a patient-centered model that specifically addresses the symptoms that patients experience.
“We see thousands of macular degeneration patients a year and we have the expertise to guide the innovation to address the major clinical questions that are important for our treatment of patients with macular degeneration,” said Dr. Csaky.
Improving drug-delivery technologies for the treatment of macular degeneration will be one of the initial focuses of the research for the Center. Another initial focus for the Center will be diagnostics, improving retinal function assessments of the patients’ vision.
“Of all the various problems that come with macular degeneration, these are the two areas that we are beginning with. There will be more as we move forward with this partnership,” said Dr. Csaky.