Queen’s University Belfast sheds new light on abnormal blood vessel growth

The research could lead to the development of new treatments for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy

Professor Tim Curtis

Research from Queen’s University Belfast has highlighted the role of the protein CAMKII in coordinating the signals that cause new blood vessel growth.

The findings, which were published in JCI Insightcould lead to the development of new treatments for eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

The current treatment of vascular endothelial growth factor is not effective in up to half of patients.

Professor Tim Curtis, from the Wellcome-Wolfson Centre for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University, highlighted: “Our study has pinpointed a key regulator of abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye that will enable us to design new, better treatments against a number of sight-threatening diseases.”

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI), as the blood vessels of the eye and heart share several common characteristics.

Karen McCammon, from BHF NI, said that the research may enable new strategies to mend hearts following a heart attack.

“Knowing how to control blood vessel growth might help us to discover new ways to repair failing hearts by improving blood supply to damaged heart muscle,” she shared. 

Image credit: Queen’s University Belfast