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American Academy of Ophthalmology Mourns Loss of Judah Folkman, MD, Pioneering Researcher

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Ophthalmology expresses its sadness at the death of Judah Folkman, MD, whose research on angiogenesis inhibitors sparked major advances in the treatment of eye diseases and other illnesses that involve excessive or abnormal angiogenesis, or blood vessel development.

"Dr. Folkman's death is a loss to ophthalmology and to all of medicine," said H. Dunbar Hoskins, Jr., MD, executive vice president for the Academy. "Because of his groundbreaking work, we have seen remarkable advances in helping patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) save their vision and even regain some of their eyesight."

Dr. Folkman was the keynote speaker at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting to held November 11-13, 2007, in New Orleans. In Dr. Folkman's address, Dr. Folkman stressed that ophthalmology was present at the beginning of his research into angiogenesis. To prove his theory, he performed his early angiogenesis experiments in rabbit eyes because their corneas were ideal for detecting new blood vessels. The eye was the best way he and his colleagues could show that a tumor could make a protein that could stimulate new blood vessels.

Dr. Folkman and his research group identified the first angiogenesis inhibitors in 1985, after enduring fellow scientists' indifference or scorn for their approach for 20 years. Today, at least 40 compounds that affect angiogenesis are being tested in humans to combat a range of cancers, heart disease, and eye diseases including AMD, retinopathy of prematurity (a form of childhood blindness), and diabetes-related disorders.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons -- Eye M.D.s -- with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" -- opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at

SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology
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