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Dutch varsity to do research in eye care in India

Thursday August 23, 2012 10:55:07 AM, IANS

Bangalore: The Netherlands-based Maastricht University will conduct joint research with Narayana Nethralaya in this tech hub on preventive eye care, leading to discovery of cost-effective medicine for eye ailments, an official said.

"We hope the joint research in ophthalmology will lead to finding affordable medicine for various eye ailments and reduce the cost of treatment," Maastricht University medical centre Chief Executive, Guy Peeters, told reporters here Wednesday, after signing an agreement with the leading eye hospital in the city.

As a leading super specialty eye hospital, Nethralaya provides advance eye care and conducts applied research in stem cells, molecular techniques, genetics, ocular immunology and infectious disease.

"We selected Narayana Nethralaya after due diligence taking into consideration its capabilities and track record. Though we have generic agreements with other medical institutions in India, this is the first tie-up, which mandates setting up a centre of excellence for research into ophthalmology," Peeters said on the occasion.

The Dutch varsity has agreements with the state-run National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (Nimhans) and Narayana Hrudayala, a super specialty heart hospital in Bangalore, and Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara (JSS) University at Mysore, about 150 km from here.

Admitting that the thrust in India was more on treating ailments with drugs and therapies, Nethralaya founder Chairman Bhujang Shetty said the joint research with the Dutch varsity would be to identify the cause for eye ailments.

"We will focus on drug discovery from the preventive perspective to benefit developing nations like India where population density is high and preventive medicine is the way forward," Shetty observed.

Besides joint research, the agreement envisages faculty exchange programmes in healthcare, working with overseas partners on projects and organising international conferences on eye care.

"The cost of treatment is very high in India because we have to pay for patents pharmaceutical companies hold. The joint research will enable us to identify the root cause of ailments and find preventive medicine, which will become affordable," said Nethralaya vice-chairman, Rohit Shetty.







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