independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Scientists hoping to save the sight of diabetes sufferers

IRISH scientists are hoping to develop a novel approach that could save the sight of millions of diabetes sufferers worldwide.

Work has already begun to try and come up with a technique to grow blood vessels with the aim of restoring sight to people affected by the devastating disease.

Currently millions of diabetics worldwide are at risk of sight loss through a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar causes the blood vessels in the eye to become blocked or to leak.

Failed blood flow harms the retina and leads to vision impairment, and if left untreated can cause blindness.

The Queen's University team hope their research will ultimately allow them to reverse this damage by using stem cells, and the results of the project could be available within five years.

Professor Alan Stitt, director of the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science at Queen's and lead scientist for the project, explained: "The research has started already as a result of a grant from the EU."

Irish Independent

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