18 Aug 2017

Congratulations to Prof Jenny Wilkinson-Berka on JDRF grant!

The diabetic retinopathy research group. L-R: Mr Jack Jerome,
Ms Osanna Wong, Mr Saeed Alrashdi, Dr Devy Deliyanti,
Professor Jenny Wilkinson-Berka
Congratulations to Professor Jenny Wilkinson-Berka on the award of almost 1 million dollars from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) New York to commence in October 2017. The grant is for 3 years and titled, Boosting the immune system to treat diabetic retinopathy.

The purpose of the JDRF award 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 they will determine the ability of various treatment approaches that increase the number of Tregs to reduce diabetic retinopathy. In collaboration with CERA the Monash group 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). Unfortunately many eyes are resistant to anti-VEGF agents. In their studies the group will evaluate the profile of Tregs and inflammatory factors in these patients with the view to developing novel treatment strategies.

The chief investigators are Prof Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka, Prof Fabienne Mackay (The University of Melbourne), Prof Mark Cooper, Assoc Prof Lyndell Lim (Centre for Eye Research Australia/ Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital) and Dr. Sanjeewa Wickremashinge (Centre for Eye Research Australia/ Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital).

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