Pre-Conference Focus Day

Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Cell–Based Research & Development for Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

9:30 am Registration

9:55 am Opening Remarks

10:00 am Examine Iron-induced Oxidative Stress & Inflammation in a New Mouse Model of GA

  • Josh Dunaief Adele Niessen Professor of Ophthalmology, FM Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania

Synopsis

  • Intravitreal iron injection reproducibly induces GA
  • Myeloid cells and complement genes are activated
  • Oxidation of photoreceptor DHA is an early event
  • Mitochondrial autofluorescence suggests early metabolic changes

10:25 am Explore How the Interlinked Metabolism between Photoreceptors & RPE is a Mechanism for Dry-AMD Progression, & a Target for Therapeutic Intervention

  • John Ash Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Florida

Synopsis

  • Explore how induced mitochondrial oxidative stress specifically in RPE causes the RPE to switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolytic metabolism, which leads to photoreceptor dysfunction and death
  • Discuss how the reduction of glycolytic metabolism in photoreceptors results in dysfunction and death of RPE
  • Discover how drugs that enhance glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation rescues both cell types from degeneration and protects patients from developing AMD

10:50 am Morning Break & Virtual Speed Networking

11:05 am Discuss Pharmacological & Nanoparticle Approaches to Clearing Waste Accumulations from RPE Cells

  • Claire Mitchell Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Department: Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Synopsis

  • Discover the consequences of accumulation for cell health and signaling 
  • Examine approaches to clear waste from RPE cells
  • Discuss prevention of vision loss in a pre-clinical model

11:30 am An Exclusive Look at RPE Transplantation for Age-related Macular Degeneration: The London Experience

  • Pete Coffey Professor Rescue, Repair and Regeneration and Co-Director, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, UCL - Institute of Ophthalmology/Moorfields Eye Hospital and UC Santa Barbara

Synopsis

  • What were the original aims of The London Project?
  • Examine the success of making RPE cells from stem cells
  • Assess the broader impact of The London Project

11:55 am Targeting Lipid Dysregulation & Inflammation as Potential Therapy for Early Dry- AMD

  • Goldis Malek Associate Professor, Depts of Ophthalmology & Pathology, Duke University, Albert Eye Research Institute

Synopsis

  • Review details of lipid localization in human AMD donor tissue 
  • Examine evidence that dysregulation of lipid metabolism and inflammation in animal models recapitulates aspects of human AMD pathology
  • Discuss targeting master regulators of lipid metabolism and inflammation in animal models supporting potential therapy

12:20 pm Panel Discussion/Group Q&A

  • John Ash Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Florida
  • Pete Coffey Professor Rescue, Repair and Regeneration and Co-Director, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, UCL - Institute of Ophthalmology/Moorfields Eye Hospital and UC Santa Barbara
  • Josh Dunaief Adele Niessen Professor of Ophthalmology, FM Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania
  • Claire Mitchell Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Department: Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Goldis Malek Associate Professor, Depts of Ophthalmology & Pathology, Duke University, Albert Eye Research Institute

1:00 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Review the Long-Term Natural History of Geographic Atrophy

  • Janet Sunness Medical Director, Hoover Low Vision Services, Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Synopsis

  • Understand the natural history of GA
  • Explain why visual acuity is not a good endpoint for GA trials
  • Discuss patient-reported difficulties outcomes relevant to GA

2:45 pm Afternoon Break

3:00 pm The Pathogenesis of Stargardt Disease & Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: How Different are They?

Synopsis

  • Why does Stargardt progress so fast?
  • Are there overlapping pathways between the two diseases?
  • Where might pharmaceutical intervention be effective?

3:45 pm Closing Remarks

3:50 pm End of Focus Day