With nearly 642 million people globally projected to live with diabetes in the year 2040, the risk for developing diabetes-related complications will drastically increase. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic degenerative metabolic disease that is characterized by sustained hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia correlates with a number of DM-related complications and is one of the preeminent factors for causing vascular damage in the human body.
The majority of diabetic complications can be viewed as either microvascular disease (small vascular injury, including retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, and cardiomyopathy) or macrovascular disease (large vessel injury, including macrovascular-related stroke, ischemic heart disease, and peripheral artery disease). Diabetic retinopathy (DR) remains the most prevalent chronic microvascular complication of DM. The relationship between DR and diabetes has been reported in several studies with the majority of type 1 diabetic patients and over 60% of patients with type 2 DM developing evidence of DR within 20 years of diagnosis.
With the incidence of visual impairment due to DR strongly related to the duration of diabetes, retinopathy remains asymptomatic to the patient until the pathology significantly progresses. Given that general practitioners lack the tools of specialists to accurately assess retinopathies, and patients often experience long wait times to see a specialist, a point of care test is needed for earlier detection of developing retinopathies and earlier referral dates for specialists.
Currently there are no identified Biomarkers in the clinic for detection of Diabetic Retinopathy using a blood test.
Researchers at Western University have identified a long non-coding RNA panel that can be used as a diagnostic biomarker as an early detection method for Diabetic Retinopathy.
- Biomarker candidates are differentially expressed and can be easily detected and monitored using either blood serum or retinal vitreous samples.
- Currently no blood based RNA biomarker is available.
- Biomarker panel can be easily converted to a point of care system.
- Biomarker assay can be used for other diabetic pathologies.
- Cost-effective compared to other approaches.
- Potential for at-home use by patients, reducing wait times and use of specialists.
- Diabetic retinopathy-based diagnostics
- Non-invasive screening for diabetes-related organ damage
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