Southampton eye specialist wins gold

ProfessorAndrewLotery-Nettleshipmedal

A leading eye specialist based at Southampton’s university hospitals has been awarded a prestigious prize for research.

Professor Andrew Lotery, consultant ophthalmologist at Southampton General Hospital’s Eye Unit, picked up the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Nettleship medal for the best research paper produced in the last four years.

His project, published by medical journal The Lancet last year, identified a new genetic risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a major cause of untreatable blindness among elderly people in developed countries.

The gene, named SERPING1, is faulty in up to 25 per cent of sufferers.

If repeated in larger studies, Professor Lotery and his colleagues suggest their findings might lead to the possibility of genetic screening for AMD and the development of biological agents to control it.

“I am very pleased to have been presented with such a celebrated award as the Nettleship medal for my team and my collaborator Dr Sarah Ennis’ research into AMD,” Professor Lotery said.

“The findings have proved invaluable in helping crush the belief that AMD is not genetic, with people now realising it is strongly genetic and in many cases a systemic disorder.”

The University of Southampton and the Gift of Sight Appeal (www.giftofsight.org.uk) supported Professor Lotery’s research.

Posted on Thursday 18 June 2009