Gene based treatment strategies for diabetic retinopathy [ 2001 - 2006 ]

Also known as: Development of new treatments for diabetic retinopathy

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Elizabeth Rakoczy (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Lyn Beazley Glenn Begley Prof Ian Constable Prof Erik Helmerhorst
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Brief description Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the working population of developed countries and it is an increasing problem in the developing world. Present therapy involves extensive laser destruction of the light-detecting part of he retina. In addition, it is not only effective when administered at an appropriate stage in the disease process. Consequently, there is an urgent need for the development of better, prophylactic, easily administrable and cheaper therapies. This project aims to develop a potentially permanent solution to alleviate diabetes-related blindness in the world. The project combines several very recent scientific advances into one strategy to combat diabetic retinopathy at a molecular level. Vision is our most important sensory organ that cannot be replaced. Thus, human trials can only be conducted following extensive animal safety and efficacy trials. To date the development of new therapies has been seriously hampered by the lack of appropriate, easy to reproduce animal models for different stages of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, it aims to identify new therapeutic agents from molecules that are naturally produced by the retina while fighting the disease. Finally, tested and evaluated in the animal models. The most successful therapeutic candidates will then be further developed for human trials.If successful, our approach will potentially have a major impact on the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and possibly on all diabetic vascular diseases. A single injection might only be necessary to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy, which would represent a significant weapon in the management of patients. In addition, successful application of secretion gene therapy in the eye might open up the possibility to introduce the same concept for the treatment of larger organs undergoing microvascular changes as a result of diabetes.

Funding Amount $AUD 2,630,000.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Strategic Awards

Notes Diabetes Collaborative Research Grants

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