More than 18 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration, a debilitating affliction that can lead to total blindness. The causes are unknown, it is a highly individualized disease and there is no known cure. In an increasingly visual world, the impact of vision loss in older people will negatively affect them, their families and our society.


We believe we can accelerate the medical research process to increase the detection rate and discover improved treatment tools. The traditional research model starts in a lab where drugs or other tools are created and then attempts are made to apply these approaches to treat patients. The Patient-First Medici Model of medical research we created is different. RFSW starts with clinical challenges directly relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and then pairs our clinicians with SMU’s researchers to drive exploration and discovery. This is a more focused approach to problem solving and one we believe can improve the speed and success rate of medical research.


Quite simply, we need a faster and better method to unlock solutions to AMD. Already, SMU engineers are applying their study of microfluidics to enhance the flow of drug into the eye, while chemists are studying and designing polymers that could be optimal for an ocular drug delivery device. None of this would have happened unless we brought together RFSW and SMU to create a uniquely Dallas approach to finding new diagnostics and treatments for AMD. If this collaboration and research approach proves successful, our Patient-First Medici Model could possibly accelerate research to find treatments and cures for even more diseases.


As the most common cause of vision loss for individuals 50 years and older, age-related macular degeneration is a progressive disease of the retina. Those who suffer with AMD experience decreased quality of life, increased depression and severely decreased independence with more pressure on caregivers. More than 18 million people suffer from AMD, with few treatment options and no cure. With the population over the age of 50 projected to double by 2030, we need to accelerate diagnosis and treatment of this life-altering disease.

The traditional model of creating technologies and drugs in a lab and then applying them where they seem to fit in patients is proving to be more and more costly, time-intensive and less successful.


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