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Millions of people, many of them children and young adults, find they are losing eyesight to "incurable," "hopeless," and "rare" eye diseases. It's hard to believe that as we approach the year 2000 these statements are still on the lips of ophthalmologists as they break the sad news to people each and every day.
The 2nd Retinal Cell Transplant Symposium has been convened to re-establish the realities and possibilities within reach of medical science to change the terrible hopelessness that has been a way of life in the diagnosis and treatment of previously "incurable" eye diseases. With the development of heart transplants, lung transplants, liver transplants, and the transplantation of cells and tissues for a variety of diseases, it appears among scientists that the rebuilding of damaged retinas could become a possibility as medical science daily embraces miracles in every direction of medical research through the high-tech advances of the 20th century.
Why are we here? The answer is simple: to find the answers. To find the answers for ourselves, our children, their children and the millions of others who ask us for answers on a daily basis. For nearly a quarter of a century, RP International has been looking for the answers and has left no stone unturned in seeking out information on the possibilities of treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and other degenerative diseases.
In the early years, the word "hopeless" was almost a trademark when applied to these diseases. Now, RP International's slogan is: "There's Hope In Sight" due, finally, to the recognition of the possibility of cell transplantation in the world of eye diseases and neurological disorders.
In pioneering the retinal cell transplant, RP International forged ahead, ignoring criticism and ignorance in helping to establish the first retinal cell transplant symposium in Los Angeles in 1990 as the Bel Age Hotel. Now, the National Eye Institute finally recognizes the worth of this research. When Helen Harris, with the support of President Bush, addressed the National Eye Institute in 1990, the response was not so positive. Today, the NEI is funding transplant research in the amount of $3,235,531. This small beginning leads us to the challenge now of putting the necessary funds into transplant research that will truly end degenerative eye disease forever.
We salute the researchers who have won awards from the NEI, thank them for their support of this event, and thank them for their work in the avenue of cell transplantation research that will affect the lives of so many youngsters who stand and wait with hope in their eyes.
Helen HarrisPresident and Founder
RP InternationalP.O. Box 900Woodland Hills, CA 91365Tel (818) 992-0500Fax (818) 992-3265E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org© 1997-2013 RP International & Respective Copyright Holders
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