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New Facility Will Enable Regional Medical Program to Offer Expanded Clinical Trials, Provide Additional Eyesight Savings Medications to Northeast Patients

*Retina Research Foundation to Host Open House 11/12 from 6-8 PM

LATHAM (November 7, 2005) -- The Lions Eye Institute (LEI) of Albany Medical Center -- the only medical program in the greater Capital Region that focuses its research on the causes and cures of eye diseases and blindness -- now has an expansive new home.

Commercial real estate developer First Columbia has announced that LEI has moved into 23,000-square-feet of space at the recently completed 1220 New Scotland Road, a $6.8 million medical/professional building located at Slingerlands Crossing, a 16-acre professional center in the Town of Bethlehem.

"We are thrilled to have finally moved in," said Dr. Paul Beer, professor of ophthalmology at Albany Medical College, explaining the increase in space and facilities means faster and easier access for patients. "Our new, 1,500-square-foot Retina Research Center will allow us to greatly expand our clinical trials and bring eyesight savings medications, such as Lucentis and Avastin, to even more patients in northeastern New York."

Added Dr. John W. Simon, professor and chairman of Ophthalmology at Albany Medical College: "During the past year our 12 faculty members have authored 62 original publications. Our new expanded space will permit us to enhance our teaching, research, and patient care activities in all subspecialty areas."

"We're excited to welcome one of the nation's leading retinal research centers to our new facility at Slingerlands Crossing," said First Columbia Vice President Mark Bette. "This state-of-the-art building provides LEI with superior facilities to conduct its nationally renowned studies, while its central location provides easy access for LEI's patients and for its educational activities."

The Institute, one of eight Lions-supported facilities in the United States that combine patient care, medical training and basic and clinical eye research, comprises various groups that represent the Albany Medical College Department of Ophthalmology: the Cornea Consultants of Albany; The Retina Consultants, PLLC/The Retina Research Center/The Retina Research Foundation, Inc.; Children's Medical Eye Consultants; Glaucoma Practice of New York, PLLC; and, Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery.

The spacious three-story building will offer the Institute numerous additional amenities, including a conference room for continuing medical education activities, and offices for the Lions Foundation and the Retina Research Foundation.

Those wishing to tour the new facility will be able to do so Thursday, Nov. 10 from 6-8 p.m. when the board of directors of the Retina Research Foundation hosts an open house.

First Columbia is continuing to seek medical and commercial tenants for the facility's remaining 20,000-square-feet of space. 1220 New Scotland Road features the latest technology, including a fiber optic telecommunications network allowing for video conferencing, high-speed Internet access and wireless networking. It also features plentiful onsite parking and access to public transportation.

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