by: Laura Probyn
According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. There are roughly 7.7 million adults with the disease in the United States and 93 million worldwide.
While there are currently treatment options for those suffering with diabetic retinopathy, they are very invasive – one requires monthly eye injections – and can mean loss of night vision and peripheral vision.
Julia Busik, an associate professor of physiology in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is focused on cell therapies to promote blood vessel repair in the eye.
Busik and her research team recently published two papers, one in the journal Stem Cells, and another in PLOS ONE, that describe findings that have implications for new, noninvasive treatment of diabetic retinopathy and possibly other diabetes-related complications.
“The vasculature has a very good capacity for repair,” she says. “If you cut yourself, it’s going to heal. The blood in the vessel will coagulate, a new blood vessel will grow, and you won’t know you had that cut several days later.”
The same thing happens in the retina. The repair is made by cells circulating from the bone marrow. These cells, called progenitor cells, are released to make repairs when damage happens…….
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Source: Michigan State University