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NEI Signs Agreement with UK for Collaborative Research into Inflammatory Eye Diseases

Peng Tee Khaw, M.D., Ph.D. hosts the signing event at Moorfields Eye Hospital
Peng Tee Khaw, M.D., Ph.D. hosts the signing event at Moorfields Eye Hospital
On May 22, NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky attended a ceremony at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, England, at which the United States National Eye Institute (NEI) signed a Human Ocular Immunology Consortium agreement with the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Bristol National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, and the University of Bristol. Peng Tee Khaw, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of Research and Development at Moorfields, hosted the event at which the NEI was represented by Gyan Prakash, Ph.D., Associate Director for International Programs, and Robert Nussenblatt, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Director for Human Immunology.

Left to right: Signatories for the Human Ocular Immunology Consortium agreement include Dr. Khaw, John Prakash, Ph.D. (NEI), Andrew Dick, M.D.  (Research Director in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol and Theme Lead for Inflammation and Immunotherapy at the NIHR Moorfields BRC), and Robert Nussenblatt, M.D., M.P.H. (NEI)
Left to right: Signatories for the Human Ocular Immunology Consortium agreement include Dr. Khaw, John Prakash, Ph.D. (NEI), Andrew Dick, M.D. (Research Director in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol and Theme Lead for Inflammation and Immunotherapy at the NIHR Moorfields BRC), and Robert Nussenblatt, M.D., M.P.H. (NEI)
Dr. Khaw, who also serves as President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), commented that, “It was a tremendous pleasure to meet our distinguished American friends and colleagues. We are all convinced that the Consortium agreement we have made to promote human ocular immunology, specifically to encourage the transfer of technologies, scholars, and biomaterials for the study of uveitis, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, will greatly enhance our efforts to better understand and combat these common and often devastating eye diseases.”

More than 100 attendees heard a series of presentations regarding the developing science of ocular immunology and how the Consortium can “fuse the scientifically and clinically powerful research from the two countries,” including immune platforms, advances in imaging, and the availability of patients, especially for a joint clinical trial for new therapies.

Dr. Khaw acknowledged that the events that day, coupled with those of the previous day in which he hosted a delegation of blinded US and UK veterans (which included NAEVR’s James Jorkasky), emphasize the importance of this research for patients. He commented that, “The past two days exemplify the power of our research to change the lives of patients,” and concluded by noting that the theme for ARVO’s 2013 Annual Meeting is Life Changing Research.