Major Grant for Ongoing Diabetic Retinopathy Research

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Assistant Professor Rajashekhar Gangaraju, PhD, has received a major grant from the National Eye Institute, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. It was originally given to him through his previous institution, and is transferring to UTHSC for his ongoing diabetic retinopathy research here at HEI. Preliminary research in Dr. Gangaraju's laboratory shows that stem cells isolated from fat cells can regenerate and repair the damaged cells in the eye and improve vision. This funding will be used to continue that research over the next three years.

With the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States and throughout the world, vision loss from diabetes continues to rise. Vision-threatening retinopathy will affect 40 percent of individuals with diabetes and that percentage will increase as the population ages and more adults and children are diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly 19 million Americans have diabetes, and another 7 million are undiagnosed. Roughly 80 million are categorized as pre-diabetic or at risk of developing the disease.