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Hope For Macular Degeneration? ‘One Step Closer’ To Cure For Age-Related Blindness

A recent partnership between two international organizations has increased hope that finding a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is possible.

Korean biotech company MDimune Inc. and scientists from the Clear Vision Research Lab at The Australian National University (ANU) will collaborate to build on each other’s achievements and find a cure for AMD.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, and affects 14% of people over the age of 50, according to Ophthalmology Times. Currently, the affliction has no cure.

According to the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, AMD “is a chronic and painless disease of the macula,” and leads to the loss of central vision. This inadequacy affects an individual’s ability to read, recognize faces and watch on screens.

“This exciting partnership with MDimune brings us one step closer to developing new drug therapies that could one-day cure AMD, a debilitating disease that causes vision loss in about 200 million people worldwide,” head of the ANU Clear Vision Research Lab, Associate Professor, Dr. Riccardo Natoli, said, as per StartStat60.

Scientists are betting on the assumption that certain cells, cell-derived vesicles (CDVs), can act as information carriers to move drugs and treatments to specific areas in the body. According to the team at ANU, this therapy model could also be used to treat afflictions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Technology from MDimune works on CDVs. The teams want to use this technology to provide new drug therapies that can reach a patient’s retina.

“This novel class of drug carriers and therapeutics are highly versatile and can be generated from various types of human cells, meaning they can be produced in large quantities,” Natoli said. “We are excited at the possibility of the MDimune-developed BioDrone platform technology for use as a therapeutic and drug delivery for the eye.”

What’s more, preclinical trials that were conducted using BioDrone platform technology have shown promising results.

“It will be a great opportunity for us to confirm the anti-inflammatory and regenerative capacity of stem cell-derived CDVs as therapeutics,” Chief Scientific Officer at MDimune, Dr. Seung Wook Oh said.

“Also, through our collaboration with ANU, we anticipate that we can facilitate the commercialization of the BioDrone platform with global pharmaceutical companies,” Oh added. 

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