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Glaucoma 360 unites experts to tackle disease from every angle


Dr. GravesBy Jennifer A. Webb

San Francisco-Ophthalmologists or those in the greater ophthalmic community who are seeking an all-encompassing meeting on all things glaucoma need look no further than Glaucoma 360°.

The 3-day event, Feb. 6 to 8, 2014, is designed to offer the latest news in glaucoma from all perspectives. It is the only meeting of its kind built to update glaucoma specialists quickly as well as those who work with or are treated by them.

In addition, the comprehensive program will be of interest to those who:

  • Treat patients with glaucoma.

  • Research glaucoma pharmaceutical treatments.

  • Invest in or contribute money toward glaucoma solutions or advise those who do.

  • Invent glaucoma devices.

  • Teach residents about glaucoma.

  • Seek regulatory approval for glaucoma products.

Beginning with a black-tie gala and fundraiser benefiting the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), the event includes a day of fast-paced and informative updates from every segment known to touch glaucoma, followed by a half-day course in which physicians may glean the latest clinical news and earn continuing medical education credits.

The event, now in its third year, was conceived by Adrienne Graves, PhD, who serves on the GRF board of directors and is the former president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Santen Inc., and Andrew G. Iwach, MD, GRF board chairman, and executive director, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco. Drs. Graves and Iwach now co-chair Glaucoma 360°, working with a broad-based board to uncover and invite those in the field who can contribute new ideas. Ophthalmology Times is a sponsor of the event.

“The meeting really covers a broad range of topics with experts in the field,” said Andrew G. Iwach, MD, founder and co-chairman, Glaucoma 360°; GRF board chairman; and executive director, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco. “It is a changing field. We are humbled and honored that these busy, successful experts are making time to be there.”

Dr. Iwach

Annual gala

Organizers hope attendees will come in Thursday to support the foundation and enjoy the gala, which will honor the contributions of William J. Link, PhD, managing director of Versant Ventures, who has been a leading provider of capital to ophthalmic startups, including glaucoma surgical device maker Glaukos. Dr. Link will receive the Catalyst Award.

The gala also will honor singer Judy Collins, who has used her high profile to raise awareness of glaucoma and other social causes over several decades. Collins, who will receive the Visionary Award, also will perform at the dinner, which is held at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco.

“She’s been an advocate for glaucoma (research) and is vocal about the fact that it’s in her family,” said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF president and CEO.

On top of the glam and sparkle of the reception and live auction, the dinner allows benefactors to meet researchers-up and coming, as well as those who are more established-and discuss their work. It also exposes scientists to those who suffer with glaucoma and can explain their hardships, Brunner said.

“The scientists we fund have told us many times they never really had a grant where the grantor is so involved in it, where they’ve had this wonderful opportunity to interact with patients who benefit from their research,” he said. “They learn first hand what it’s like to have glaucoma or low vision with glaucoma, and their frustration with the current treatments. We hope it will ultimately lead to products and devices that are going to benefit patients.”

New Horizons Forum

The New Horizons Forum the following day will feature an opening keynote address by Robert N. Weinreb, MD, as the inaugural Drs. Henry and Frederick Sutro Memorial Lecturer. Dr. Weinreb, chairman and distinguished professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, and director of its Shiley Eye Center and the Hamilton Glaucoma Center, will speak on “New Frontiers in Glaucoma.”

Dr. Graves noted this year’s keynote speaker “epitomizes innovation in glaucoma. Dr. Weinreb has built interdisciplinary teams that have advanced our understanding of the pathophysiology of glaucoma, as well as its clinical detection and treatment. His contributions on both the basic and clinical side have been enormous.”

The New Horizons Forum is designed to foster face-to-face interaction with experts so that those who have an idea for a new product or technique, for example, may connect directly with people in industry or venture capital who can develop that idea, and with the regulatory officials who can advise them on the process.

Question-and-answer sessions follow every panel discussion and speaker, and audience members are encouraged to share insights or further explore a topic.

Breaks are planned as opportunities to approach key individuals on topics that relate to the work at hand. In addition to a cocktail reception and breaks, attendees can look at lunch for key opinion leaders who will be seated at specific tables and ready for conversation.

Speakers and discussion leaders include William L. Rich III, MD, medical director of health policy, American Academy of Ophthalmology; Eliot Lazar, MD, president, elCON Medical (Buffalo, NY); Ronald L. Gross, MD chairman and director of West Virginia University Eye Institute; Stuart B. Abelson, president and CEO, Ora Inc. (Andover, MA); Gary D. Novack, PhD, president, Pharmalogic (San Rafael, CA); J. Casey McGlynn, partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati (Palo Alto, CA); Ike Ahmed, MD, FRCSC, assistant professor, faculty of medicine, University of Toronto; and Alan S. Crandall, MD, senior vice chairman of ophthalmology and visual sciences, John A. Moran Eye Center, Salt Lake City.

“This year, we are trying to include emerging technologies that haven’t been in trial yet,” Brunner said. “It’s something you can use to give hope to your patients. Some of them will be sharing unpublished or undisclosed data from their clinical trials and from their use of the product.”

Glaucoma Symposium CME

The final day of the event offers continuing medical education to ophthalmologists. The Glaucoma Symposium CME, in its 18th year, is presented by Glaucoma Research and Education Group in partnership with GRF, and is designed to offer physicians the latest updates on the most effective treatment options for patients.

Michael V. Drake, MD, chancellor, University of California, Irvine, will deliver the 2014 Shaffer-Hetherington-Hoskins Lecture. The rest of the half-day meeting will include updates on glaucoma medications and laser treatment, complexities encountered with cataract surgery in glaucoma patients; reliability of glaucoma testing procedures; and new surgical procedures.

“If there’s something new going on in glaucoma,” Brunner said, “this is the meeting where you’re going to find out about it.”



For more information about the Glaucoma 360° meeting program, visit http://bit.ly/qDIiZK.


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