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Dear EURETINA Members,

A very warm welcome to the November 2nd, 2014 edition of EURETINA’s web-based digital magazine, “EURETINA Brief”.

EURETINA are delighted to continue our delivery of up to date summary briefs on a range of topics of interest to retinal specialists and researchers across Europe. This resource is designed to accommodate the very busy schedules of all our members by providing them with a short overview of some new developments and announcements in our field over recent weeks.

As in previous issues we have incorporated a feedback section where you can comment on any of the news items or articles under discussion and we very much welcome all contributions. Previous articles and issues can be found in the archive section on the left hand panel.

The current issue highlights a number of research activities, clinical milestones and business developments in our field, including announcement of the final award winners in the 2014 EURETINA Science & Medicine Innovation Awards; initiation of a new Phase II clinical trial of an integrin peptide therapeutic to treat diabetic macular edema (DME) and, finally; an announcement for the French company, Nicox S.A. of the acquisition of Aciex Therapeutics, Inc., a US-based, ophthalmic development company with lead programs in conjunctivitis and post-operative ocular inflammation.

Finally, our feature bio-ophthalmology article reports on developments in follow up to a 2012 study by an international consortium of scientists from Asia showing that three new genes appeared to associate with primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG), a significant cause of blindness worldwide. The original research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, reported a genome wide association study that included 3,771 PACG patients and 18,551 controls recruited across Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Vietnam. Follow up research on these findings has shown that one of the GWAS reported genes, PLEKHA7, appears to be expressed in the muscles, vascular endothelium, and epithelium of the iris, ciliary body and ciliary processes, trabecular meshwork (TM), and choroid. PLEKHA7 co-localization at these sites was seen with adherens junction markers (E-cadherin and beta-catenin) and tight junction markers (ZO-1), suggesting a potential role for PLEKHA7 in PACG via fluidic regulation.

As always, increased interaction by you with the EURETINA web community serves to expand your professional network and keep you up to date with the latest initiatives, activities and research in your field. Our hope is that such cross-fertilisation in an active web-based platform will lead to increased collaborative opportunities and ultimately to improved patient care. All readers are invited to submit comments or responses to any of the stories featured and we look forward to hearing from you over the coming month.

Best wishes,
Dr. Gearóid Tuohy, EURETINA