For her research project seeking a new treatment to restore vision in glaucoma patients, Adriana Di Polo, PhD, professor of neuroscience at the University of Montreal in Canada, was awarded the 2019 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research. The annual research prize is awarded by the Glaucoma Research Foundation to recognize a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to cure glaucoma.
Dr. Di Polo’s 2017 research grant, titled “Regeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cell Dendrites: Stimulating Connections to Restore Vision in Glaucoma” was funded by Frank Stein and the late Paul S. May through the Glaucoma Research Foundation. The $40,000 grant allowed Dr. Di Polo’s laboratory to investigate the hypothesis that insulin can improve the survival and function of injured retinal ganglion cells. Dr. Di Polo and her team are now in discussion with clinical collaborators to design a first-in-kind clinical trial to test this regenerative approach in glaucoma patients.
“The research from Dr. Di Polo’s team at University of Montreal is significant in that it demonstrated regeneration of the dendrites in the retinal ganglion cells, and also because it uses insulin, which has been shown to be safe for clinical use,” said Thomas M. Brunner, president and CEO of the Glaucoma Research Foundation.