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Australian scientists develop diabetic retinopathy drug

05/12/2018By Myles Hume
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Australian scientists have developed a new drug that could in future serve as an alternative standalone treatment for diabetic retinopathy (DR).

The drug, CD5-2, is said to be able to repair damaged blood retinal barriers (BRB) and reduce vascular leakage. Scientists from the Centenary Institute in Sydney, who worked in collaboration with Danish researchers, said the potential new treatment could be used in isolation or in conjunction with other therapies.

“We believe CD5-2 could potentially be used as a standalone therapy to treat those patients who fail to respond to the anti-VEGF treatment,” the Centenary Institute’s Dr Ka Ka Ting said.

“It also may work in conjunction with existing anti-VEGF treatments to extend the effectiveness of the treatment. With limited treatment options currently available, it is critical we develop alternative strategies for the treatment of this outcome of diabetes.”


“With limited treatment options currently available, it is critical we develop alternative strategies for the treatment of this outcome of diabetes.”
Ka Ka Ting, Centenary Institute

The researchers tested CD5-2 by injecting the tail-vein in three mouse models of retinal dysfunction: conditional Müller cell depletion, streptozotocin-induced diabetes and oxygen-induced retinopathy.

Centenary Institute Vascular Biology Program head Professor Jenny Gamble has also overseen previous studies where CD5-2 was shown to have effects on the growth of blood vessels.

“This drug has shown great promise for the treatment of several major health problems, in the eye and in the brain. We are trying to raise the funds to progress CD5-2 through to clinical trials,” she said.

Conclusions that the drug had therapeutic potential for vascular-leak-associated retinal diseases were based on its ease of delivery, and its ability to reverse vascular dysfunction and inflammatory aspects in the three mice groups.

The work was published in the medical journal Diabetologia last month.

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