ANU and Korean firm set sights on finding cure for blindness
Korean biotech company MDimune Inc. and scientists from the Clear Vision Research Lab at The Australian National University (ANU) will join forces to develop new and more effective treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) -- the leading cause of blindness in the developed world and affecting one-in-seven people over the age of 50.
The partnership will translate the promising research gains made by the MDimune and the Clear Vision teams into potential treatments for AMD, for which there is currently no treatment or cure.
The ANU scientists believe the molecular messages contained inside certain cells could serve as a potential therapy to not only treat AMD but other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
"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," Associate Professor Riccardo Natoli, Head of the ANU Clear Vision Research Lab, said.
MDimune's cutting-edge BioDroneTM platform technology is a sophisticated system that uses cell-derived vesicles (CDVs), particles produced by cells that serve as information carriers, to transport various drugs to specific parts of the body. Associate Professor Natoli and his team, which includes Dr Adrian Cioanca and Dr Yvette Wooff, will use the technology to administer new drug therapies that can safely reach our retina.
Preclinical studies using the BioDrone platform technology have so far proven successful.
"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," Associate Professor 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."
Dr Seung Wook Oh, Chief Scientific Officer at MDimune, said: "We are thrilled to launch this collaboration to develop AMD therapeutics with the world-class research group at ANU.
"It will be a great opportunity for us to confirm the anti-inflammatory and regenerative capacity of stem cell-derived CDVs as therapeutics. Also, through our collaboration with ANU, we anticipate that we can facilitate the commercialisation of the BioDrone platform with global pharmaceutical companies."
Head to MDimune's website to learn more about how the company is helping tackle some of the greatest health and medical challenges facing populations across the globe, including researching new cancer treatments.