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Researchers describe protease inhibitor that may aid in diabetic retinopathy treatment
Date:1/21/2009

NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2009 Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, and ActiveSite Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Francisco, announced today that they have demonstrated that a specific inhibitor of the protease plasma kallikrein, ASP-440, developed by ActiveSite Pharmaceuticals, may provide a new therapeutic approach for treatment of diabetic retinopathy, the most common eye-related complication of diabetes. The study, which was partly funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), is published in the February 2009 issue of the journal Hypertension.

In the published study, led by Edward P. Feener, Ph.D., an Investigator in the Section on Vascular Cell Biology at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, continuous systemic administration of ASP-440 proved effective in decreasing hypertension-induced increased retinal vascular permeability in rodents, by as much as 70%. Increased retinal vascular permeability is a characteristic finding in diabetic retinopathy and a primary cause of diabetic macular edema, a leading cause of visual impairment associated with diabetes. Hypertension is a known risk factor for the development of retinopathy. ASP-440 was also found to be effective in lowering the elevated blood pressure in these animals.

"These findings represent a pivotal step towards understanding the importance of plasma kallikrein as a target in diabetic eye disease and how its inhibition may support the development of a safe and effective therapy for diabetic retinopathy," said Barbara Araneo, Director of Complications Research for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. "While further studies are needed to determine the therapeutic potential of ASP-440, the research underscores the relevance of the kallikrein system in diabetic microvascular disease."

In previous JDRF-funded research, Joslin researchers identified plasma kallikrein as a potential therapeutic t
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Contact: Joana Casas
mcasas@jdrf.org
212-479-7560
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
Source:Eurekalert

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