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    Duke University researcher awarded 2016 Shaffer Prize

    Stuart McKinnon, MD, PhD (Photo courtesy of Glaucoma Research Foundation)

    San Francisco—Stuart J. McKinnon, MD, PhD, was awarded the 2016 Shaffer Prize for Research for his project to determine whether therapies can be designed to module the immune system to prevent vision loss and blindness in patients with glaucoma.

    Dr. McKinnon received the award for his study “Neuroinflammation: The Role of Lymphocytes in Glaucoma.” Thomas Brunner, president and CEO of the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), presented the award during ceremonies at the Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala on Thursday night.

    “The concept of looking at immune system involvement in glaucoma is certainly not new,” Dr. McKinnon said. “It has been around in various permutations for 25 or 30 years. What we are doing that has never been attempted before is to isolate the various components of the immune system and see if any of them are relevant to glaucoma.”

    The Shaffer Prize, presented annually by GRF, recognizes a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to better understand glaucoma. Dr. McKinnon is associate professor of ophthalmology and neurobiology at Duke University, Durham, NC.

    With funding from the Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research in 2014, Dr. McKinnon has been able to directly test the hypothesis that there is an immune system component that probably derives from the blood stream that is relevant to, necessary to, or even critical to the neurodegenerative process that is glaucoma.

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