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2025 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine

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February 23, 2023

Discovery of Potential New Way to Prevent Vision Loss

UVA Health School of Medicine scientists have discovered an unknown contributor to harmful blood vessel growth in the eye that could lead to new treatments for blinding macular degeneration and other common causes of vision loss.

UVA’s Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, and Shao-bin Wang, PhD, and their colleagues have identified a new target to prevent the formation of abnormal tangles of blood vessels associated with eye conditions such as neovascular age-related macular degeneration, proliferative diabetic retinopathy and ischemic retinal vein occlusion.

“Our study has opened up the possibility of mitigating aberrant blood vessel growth in eye diseases by targeting the epigenetic machinery,” said Ambati, the founding director of UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science and a member of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology. “Through local targeting of the epigenetic regulator, we have gained a deeper understanding of how ocular immune cells can cause a loss of control over blood vessel growth under the retina. This approach also offers a new direction for the development of more effective, cost-efficient and accessible interventions, thereby avoiding issues such as drug resistance, which is a growing concern with conventional anti-VEGF therapies used in clinical treatments.”

Read the full article from The University of Virginia School of Medicine.

About the Scholar

Jayakrishna Ambati

Ophthalmology

Jayakrishna Ambati, MD

University of Kentucky
Harrington Scholar-Innovator

More about Jayakrishna Ambati

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