Diabetes blindness breakthrough

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A BALLYMENA scientist is leading an international team which has discovered a new way of preventing the development of blindness in people with diabetes.
Professor Ingrid Fleming, who is the daughter of former Mid and East Antrim mayor, councillor Audrey Wales, is based at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany where she has been chairperson of the Centre for Molecular Medicine since 2010.
The former Carniny Primary and Cambridge House grammar school pupil is part of a collaborative team that has identified a central cause of a retinal disease caused by diabetes, as well as a possible therapeutic approach.
The results of the research will be published in the respected international scientific journal 'Nature' this Thursday, December 14.
The World Health Organisation estimates that every 100th person in the world is blinded by diabetes.
About one in ten people with diabetes has impaired vision. The cause is a degenerative disease of the retina - a so-called diabetic retinopathy.
As a result of diabetes, the blood vessels in the retina, which are responsible for the exchange of nutrients and oxygen, are damaged so that they lose their natural barrier function.
As a consequence, there is an under perfusion of the retinal tissue and an immigration of immune cells, which in turn force inflammatory processes.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.


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