|Prof Wilkinson-Berka (on the right) and |
her team received a three-year JDRF
The grant will enable Prof Wilkinson-Berka and her team including clinicians from Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), to work on a translational project on T cells and diabetic retinopathy.
The aim of the research is to determine if boosting immunosuppressive T regulatory cells (Tregs) reduces the vision-threatening damage to the retinal vasculature that can occur in people with diabetes. Using animal models of type 1 diabetes the team will determine the ability of various treatment approaches that increase the number of Tregs to reduce diabetic retinopathy.
Prof Wilkinson-Berka said that in collaboration with CERA they will evaluate the profile of Tregs as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with diabetic macular oedema (DME). "DME is a major cause of vision loss and currently one of the main treatments for this disease is the intraocular administration of agents that inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)", said Prof Wilkinson-Berka. "Unfortunately, many eyes are resistant to anti-VEGF agents. In our studies we will evaluate the profile of Tregs and inflammatory factors in these patients with the view to developing novel treatment strategies", she mentioned.