Neovascularization of the retina can cause rapid decline of visual acuity. Diabetic retinopathy, AMD, and some other ocular diseases are accompanied by the appearance of new blood vessels. For the treatment of ocular disorders with neovascularization, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs are currently used in the formulation of intravitreal injection. However, although VEGF plays an important role in ocular neovascularization, many other factors are also involved.
We recently identified a protein that induces new blood vessels in ocular tissues. The inhibition of this protein clearly suppresses the severity of the retinopathy of prematurity model in mice. We are currently seeking good nucleic acid aptamers that can bind to this protein. These aptamers can be used for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and related ocular diseases.