Cleveland, Ohio-based Arteriocyte, Inc., said on October 2 that the National Institutes of Health has awarded $310,000 to it and the Cleveland Clinic to evaluate the company’s cellular therapy product (ACY001) as a potential treatment for diabetic retinopathies.
The award was made by the NIH Eye Institute as a part of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
According to the company, the planned research, in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, is aimed at treating one of the underlying causes of diabetic retinopathy, hypoxia resulting from reduced blood flow due to blood vessel loss.
"Our research efforts will focus on what role Arteriocyte's cell therapy may play in preventing the initial vaso-degenerative phase of this disease," said principal investigator Bela Anand-Apte, MBBS, Ph.D., associate professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, who will lead the research.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetic retinopathy constitutes the leading cause of blindness among working Americans, with estimated numbers approaching eight million patients in the United States alone.
Prevalent in diabetic patients, retinopathies often occur when vascular disease stunts existing blood vessel growth, often leading to blindness.
Unfortunately, traditional therapies have historically failed to prevent retinal pathologies from developing.
Anand-Apte's team is part of the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, one of the top eye care departments in the country.
"We are thrilled to have the NIH's support in Arteriocyte's efforts to further translate our cellular therapies into disease categories with significant unmet medical need. The National Eye Institute's vote of confidence provides validation for our cellular therapy research and stresses the importance of continuing to develop this potential therapy," said Arteriocyte CEO Don Brown. "This grant provides an opportunity to better understand the effects on treating retinal neovascular disease with a cellular therapy designed to improve blood flow."
Arteriocyte, a clinical stage biotechnology company located in Cleveland, Ohio, and Hopkinton, Mass., is developing proprietary, non-embryonic stem cell-based therapies targeted for the treatment of ischemia.
The company spun out of Case Western Reserve University in 2004 and is based upon research utilizing stem cells to stimulate angiogenesis (new vessel growth).
Contact: Don Brown, 617-794-2711, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.arteriocyte.com