'Translational Research' focus of Fort Lauderdale finale

May 6, 2012

Some 12,000 researchers from 80 countries are expected to attend the 2012 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) here May 6 to 10, an event that will feature notable first and last milestones for the largest eye and vision research meeting in the world.

Fort Lauderdale, FL-Some 12,000 researchers from 80 countries are expected to attend the 2012 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) here May 6 to 10, an event that will feature notable first and last milestones for the largest eye and vision research meeting in the world.

It will be the first meeting held in more than two decades without longtime executive director Joanne G. Angle, 70, who led ARVO from 1990 until this January. She died March 8 at a hospice in Virginia after a year-long struggle with cancer.

A celebration of Angle’s leadership will take place at the ARVO Business Meeting, open to all ARVO members, at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. The newly created Joanne G. Angle Service Award will be announced at that time. It will be the highest service honor to a volunteer professional bestowed by ARVO, recognizing outstanding leaders who have made significant, continuous contributions to ARVO in support of its mission. One Joanne G. Angle award will be presented each year.

As for lasts, this meeting, which has the theme “Translational Research: Seeing the Possibilities,” will be the last in Fort Lauderdale, at least for now. Starting next year, the annual meeting will rotate cities. Up first, in 2013, will be Seattle, followed by Orlando in 2014, Denver in 2015, and back to Seattle in 2016.

ARVO President Jeffrey Boatright, PhD, FARVO, of Emory University in Atlanta, said ARVO polled its members numerous times before making the decision to move the meeting, and the outcomes consistently favored making a change.

Although Fort Lauderdale will be considered in the mix of options for future meetings, the group has simply outgrown the facilities that are there now, he noted. Candidate cities for future meetings that he named include Honolulu, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

One key thing ARVO is looking for in venues, he said, is flexibility in sizes of meeting rooms, to accommodate a variety of gatherings. It also would like a facility with more hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance.

“That is the type of atmosphere that really increases the probability of people sitting down together to talk and compare what they are working on,” Dr. Boatright said.

He acknowledges that Fort Lauderdale has its fans-many of whom relish being at the beach-but predicts many of them will travel to the new locations because of the high caliber of the gathering.

“ARVO is a meeting and a professional society that is very different from others in the field. Many of our members view ARVO as their scientific home,” he said. “This feeling will come with us as we move to new cities.”

Symposia
Several symposia will be held on Sunday. They include:
Ocular Gene Therapy, 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. This symposium will cover basic technical issues in the current approaches and problems with translation of the results of transfection across species. The results of current efforts to transfect specific ocular tissues and the ongoing clinical trial utilizing ocular gene therapy will be discussed.

Neuroprotection for Retinal Neuropathies: The Benefits of a Well-regulated Immune Response, 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. This session will address key aspects regarding the contribution of the immune system to neuronal protection and survival, and will feature researchers in retinal neuropathy, neuroprotection, and neuroimmunology.

Tissue Engineering of Ocular Tissues: Where Are We? 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. This symposium will review the progress made in ocular surface reconstruction through cell therapy, development of new biomaterials for ocular application, and advances made in understanding the importance of stem cell-niche relationship.

Cell Reprogramming in the Treatment of Ocular Diseases, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. This symposium will demonstrate state-of-the-art reprogramming technology and its applications to ocular diseases such as corneal dystrophies, glaucoma, and retinal degeneration.

In addition, each ARVO Scientific Section can organize at least one minisymposium during the annual meeting. Minisymposia are scheduled concurrently with the paper sessions throughout the week, and include topics ranging from RNA Editing in Retinal Health and Disease to Surgical Innovations for the Treatment of Eye Disease to Cortical Reorganization in Visual Impairment.

Basic Clinical Lecture
The Basic Clinical Lecture will be held Sunday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The topic will be “Translation of Protein Drugs for the Eye.”

While the number of new small-molecule drugs entering the market is declining, there is a consistent growth in the number of protein drugs entering the market. This is mainly due to the ability of protein drugs to treat complex disorders in a more effective manner. In addition, the top revenue-generating drugs in the current pharmaceutical market are protein drugs.

The first protein drug approved for the eye is already the number one product in the ophthalmic industry in terms of revenue.

Thus, there is a unique thrust from the scientific community as well as the market to develop protein drugs for the eye. However, protein drug development is more complex and there are a number of hurdles. This symposium will elaborate on the challenges, opportunities, and solutions for developing protein drugs for the eye.

Workshops
A variety of 90-minute workshops will be offered. Sponsored by a number of ARVO committees or outside groups, they are non-scientific and do not offer continuing medical education credits.

Sunday, 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.
-Advocacy Really Matters-How We Can All Make a Difference
-EVER/ARVO: Eye and Viruses-New Challenges for a New Era
-Henrietta Lacks and the Ethics of Human Experimentation
-Pizza with the Experts!
-Translational Animal Models in Vision and Ophthalmology Research

Monday, noon to 1:30 p.m.
-China-ARVO Networking Forum
-FDA Research on Safety and Effectiveness of Ophthalmic Devices
-Members-in-Training Job Forum

Tuesday, noon to 1:30 p.m.
-Advocacy and Fundraising for Vision Research
-Building an Enduring Vision Research Enterprise-A Tribute to Dr. Carl Kupfer, Founding Director of NEI
-Clinician-Scientist Forum: How to Become a Successful Clinician-Scientist
-Off Label, Off the Radar, On the Hook
-Smartphones in Ophthalmology

Wednesday, noon to 1:30 p.m.
-Bringing Vision into the K8-12 Classroom: Professional Development for High School Science Teachers
-Getting Published: Advice from Editors
-Indo-U.S. Collaborative Vision Research Program
-NEI Grants Workshop: Preparing an Amended Application
-VSS Symposium-Visual Rehabilitation

Exhibit hall

The Exhibit hall will be open Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The ARVO web site (www.arvo.org) has an interactive floor map to help you plan an exhibit floor itinerary. Search for, learn about, and contact exhibitors before you meet them. Visit Ophthalmology Times at Booth 320.

For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times Conference Briefclick here.