Abnormal blood-vessel growth in the eyes, known as diabetic retinopathy, is a leading cause of diabetes-related blindness. Advances in treatment — including the advent 30 years ago of laser therapy and, more recently, anti-VEGF, an injectable therapy that prevents blood-vessel growth — have helped preserve vision in people with diabetic retinopathy. But both approaches are limited because they affect surrounding healthy tissue in addition to diseased tissue.
Ashwath Jayagopal, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is leading a study to develop targeted therapy for retinopathy that would recognize and deliver therapy only to diseased tissue. His approach involves building tiny carriers that can deliver anti-VEGF therapy to only the diseased blood vessels. He’s currently testing the safety and efficacy of these nanocarriers in animals and is working toward being able to study this in human trials. If the technology is effective, it could be used to deliver other drugs or therapies specifically to diseased tissues while sparing healthy cells.
Source: American Diabetes Association