New research partnership to look at new treatments for diabetic eye disease

Wed, 11 Jan 2012
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and medical firm KalVista Pharmaceuticals have launched a research partnership to explore a new approach to preserving vision and slowing down the progression of diabetic eye disease, a common complaint for patients with type 1 diabetes.

JDRF will offer up to USD2.2 million in overall support and research expertise to KalVista to help advance its plasma kallikrein inhibitor for clinical trials, as well as to achieve data on its potential for treating diabetic macular edema (DME). DME involves swelling in the retina that impairs vision, and can happen at any time during diabetic retinopathy.

Plasma kallikrein is a potential therapeutic target for patients with DME, as its activation raises the inflammation and permeability of blood vessels by producing bradykinin, a hormone that causes blood vessels to dilate or enlarge. Plasma kallikrein inhibitors are therefore thought to lower retinal vessel leakage as they are able to suppress excessive production of bradykinin.

Aaron Kowalski, assistant vice president of treatment therapies for JDRF, commented "What makes our collaboration with KalVista so exciting is that we are gradually seeing this novel therapy, which could represent a whole new approach to treating DME, move from basic research discovery into a potential commercially viable drug with the help of JDRF funding."
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