Understanding the biology behind blood new vessel growth in diabetic retinopathy

Research details

  • Type of funding: New Lecturers' Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Sabu Abraham
  • Institute: University of Manchester
  • Region: North East
  • Start date: December 2014
  • End Date: September 2016
  • Priority: Causes
  • Eye Category: Retinal vascular


Diabetic retinopathy is a major complication of diabetes. It’s the main cause of blindness in people of working age. Over time, the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes damage the blood vessels in the eye. The damaged vessels become leaky and unhealthy new blood vessels grow. This can damage the light-sensitive layer of the eye (the retina) and cause sight loss.

Research has shown that new blood vessels start developing in response to signals from key substances in the body but there is still a lot more to learn about the complex changes to blood vessels that happen in diabetic retinopathy. This projects aims to increase our knowledge by studying a particular biological pathway that’s involved in producing new blood vessels. The team want to find out what effect a substance called apelin has on how leaky blood vessel walls are. The ultimate aim is to find drugs that can act to prevent unhealthy blood vessels developing in the eye.