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

Jan 15, 2008, 00:00 ET from American Academy of Ophthalmology

    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