Developing novel therapies for the treatment of retinal disease

Project Details

Our group is focussed on the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of ophthalmic disorders associated with retinal inflammation and fibrosis. A key feature of many of the leading causes of blinding eye disease is neovascularisation, the growth of abnormal new blood vessels that are prone to fluid leakage and bleeding. These diseases include: age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in those over the age of 60 years; diabetic retinopathy, the main cause of vision loss and blindness in working age adults; and retinopathy of prematurity, a major cause of vision loss in premature infants.

Fibrosis and inflammation are progressive and pathological processes that are prevalent in many chronic diseases, including type -1 and type – 2 diabetes, and affect many organs including the eye, contributing to vision loss.  Currently, there are no effective treatment options retinal scarring and limited therapies for neovascularisation. Hence there is a high unmet clinical need for novel and cost effective products to enhance visual acuity and prevent vision loss associated with neovascularisation, inflammation and fibrosis.

With this in focus, our group, along with the biotech company OccuRx, has patented a library of new chemical entities with potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases of the retina. Our projects involve testing the efficacy of novel compounds on the pathological (histological and molecular) features of various eye diseases using animal models and cell culture systems.

We have a number of projects suitable for PhD students that are available to outstanding and enthusiastic students interested in pre-clinical drug development. We also welcome enquiries from students interested in the business development side of the Biotech Industry in Australia.


Research Group

Darren Kelly

School Research Themes


Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre



St Vincent's Hospital

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