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Researchers Develop New Approach For Safer Clean-up of Deformed Blood Vessels In The Eye

Update Date: May 10, 2014 03:56 PM EDT

A research team at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto has developed a new drug approach for safer clean-up of deformed blood vessels in the eye. 

In North America, growth of malformed blood vessels accounts for leading cause of vision loss. 

Researchers have reportedly bioengineered a compound that showed safety and effectiveness when it was used in treating retinopathy in mice. The therapeutic called "Sticky-trap" shuts down tiny deformed blood vessels in the eye without affecting healthy vessels in other sites of the body. 

"The compound holds great promise as a strategy that could be rapidly translated into clinical practice. [...] We expect that Sticky-trap and future related molecules will have significant impact on the field of tumour biology in local control of recurrent disease. [...]" read the published editorial in the journal. 

Sticky-trap is injected into the eye just like some other treatments for retinopathy. The difference that the newly developed compound makes is in the safety profile - by being stable and long-lasting once in the eye.

 "That's difficult, and it's what makes this research high-risk as well as high-impact," said Dr. Nagy who is a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum and holds a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration.

"Patients with diabetic retinopathy are losing vision because blood vessels in their eyes overgrow, become deformed and burst, often tearing the retina in the process. Drugs that suppress the excess vessel formation in the eye could negatively affect healthy organs if they escape into the blood, causing kidney function problems, poor wound healing, and hypertension," Dr. Nagy added in the press release.

The research appears in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

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