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Exploring the role of the inflammasome pathway in diabetic retinopathy

36 months
Approved budget:
Dr Odunayo Mugisho
Professor Rinki Murphy
Associate Professor llva Rupenthal
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in New Zealand affecting over 250,000 New Zealanders. It is associated with several complications, one of which is diabetic retinopathy (DR), a chronic disease that can lead to vision loss. While there are a range of therapies currently available, these only treat late-stage DR signs without slowing the disease progression. Previous work done in our lab and by others have identified a new disease mechanism, the inflammasome pathway, that plays a role in the development and progression of DR. Furthermore, we have shown using several disease models that blocking this pathway using our anti-inflammasome drugs can prevent the development of DR. In the proposed study, we hope to use human donor eye tissues and blood samples to better understand how the inflammasome contributes to DR progression and to determine the best time to treat patients to prevent or reverse disease signs.