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Santen announces global collaboration with Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Ulster University researchers to study and develop novel treatments for glaucoma

Mon 12 April 2021

Santen, a global company specialising in ophthalmology, is delighted to announce a partnership with scientists from Massachusetts Eye and Ear (USA), a research and teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Ulster University (United Kingdom) to research and develop novel treatments for glaucoma. The aim of this international collaboration is to identify, characterise and develop new and unique treatments for glaucoma. The investigations will focus on how to prevent and reverse damage caused to the optic nerve due to glaucoma by exploring new therapeutic targets in the visual nervous system.

“There are currently no effective treatments for glaucoma that protect the optic nerve cells from degenerating, leading to irreversible vision loss for many glaucoma patients,” said Meredith S Gregory-Ksander, PhD, an associate scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear, and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “Our research aims to determine if targeting a component of the immune system will stop the degeneration of optic nerve cells and help preserve vision in glaucoma patients.”

Glaucoma, which affects approximately 14 million people in Europe, causes damage to the optic nerve.1,2 Damage occurs when drainage of the aqueous humour (a watery fluid that fills the space between cornea and lens and helps maintain normal pressure in the eye) is blocked and therefore the intraocular pressure (IOP) is increased.2 This new collaboration will focus on how to promote healthy activity in retinal cells.

Dr Victoria McGilligan, Lecturer in Personalised Medicine at the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine, Ulster University said, “It is fantastic to have such strong industry interest and of course funding and expertise from an ophthalmology company like Santen, which will undoubtedly speed up the development and progress of this therapeutic antibody. I’m also delighted to be working on this project with Mass Eye and Ear as we are long standing collaborators and their research compliments ours perfectly: they have developed novel glaucoma models which we have then used to successfully test the innovative therapeutic we developed, which is used to penetrate the eye cells to reduce inflammation. Our ultimate collective goal is to offer hope to those at most risk of vision loss.”

“We are proud to be working with scientists at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Ulster University on this exciting partnership,” said Luis Iglesias, President and Head of Santen EMEA. “Santen cares deeply about helping patients from all generations to preserve the precious sense of sight. With 130 years of dedication to ophthalmology, we understand that the journey to preserve sight isn’t always simple. We are passionate about improving eye health by collaborating with trusted partners to make our vision a reality.” 

References:
1.    Quigley HA et al. Br J Ophthalmol 2006;90:262-267
2.    Weinreb RN et al. JAMA 2014;311(18):1901-1911

Document number: NP-No product-EMEA-0102 
Date of preparation: April 2021