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Timely translation of ophthalmic research into clinical practice
  1. C A McCarty
  1. Correspondence to: Catherine A McCarty PhD, MPH, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Center for Human Genetics, 1000 North Oak Avenue (ML1), Marshfield, WI 54449, USA; mccarty.catherine{at}mcrf.mfldclin.edu

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Collaboration is the key

The goal of all of the major federal funding agencies for medical research is to shorten the time between basic research discoveries and implementation at the “bedside” to improve human health. To that end, the National Institutes of Health in the United States (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/clinicalresearch/overview-translational.asp), the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom (www.mrc.ac.uk), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/print-imprimer.pl) have all instituted strategies aimed at translating research for the public good. At the core of all these strategies is the need for inter-disciplinary, collaborative research involving both clinicians and scientists. What does this mean for ophthalmology and how can ophthalmologists and vision researchers contribute to this global effort to translate research results to improve patient care? The current status of research into the aetiology and treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in developed countries, provides a topical example.

The paper by Xu et al1 in this month’s issue of the BJO (p 1087) represents a landmark: the first English language report of risk factors for AMD in a Chinese population. A PubMed literature search using the search strategy “AMD AND risk factor AND China” conducted in …

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