Scaling Successes in Saving Sight

SriniVas Sadda, MD

President & Chief Scientific Officer

September 2019

One of the successes we’ve seen in ophthalmology and vision research, particularly in advancing the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, is the collaborative approach taken by the DRCR Retina Network collaboration.

Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research (DRCR) is increasingly prevalent in the US, and even more of an epidemic in India. Our aging population here, and cultural shifts globally, mean that the need to understand and manage this sight-threatening disease is very real to thousands of people.

Right now, over 200 sites in the US are enrolling diabetic retinopathy patients in collaborative clinical trials as part of the DRCR.  The power of that combined data is significant. I know that doctors searching for the best treatment for their patients rely on trials to help them understand how different options work – or don’t work. Now, this model is even more meaningful, as the successes have spurred investigations into other diseases, using the same data gathering network of hospitals, universities, institutes and private eye care practices.

As the DRCR heads towards its 20th year, the model has inspired Doheny to facilitate a similar project in India. Initially, this means four of the largest clinics in southern India are cooperating to collect and compare data. This cooperation is intended to accelerate both research and patient care. As part of Doheny’s mission to advance vision science research for all, the opportunity to share and replicate the success we’ve seen is very real. In just the first few months, over 700 patients have been recruited to participate in the Indian Retinal Research Association clinical studies. This means that thousands more patients may benefit as they seek vision-saving treatment.

It pleases me that Doheny’s legacy of leadership is an active, global reality, and I am grateful for our colleagues here at Doheny and Stein and in our many collaborations. All of these efforts stand to benefit everyone everywhere who is or will be afflicted by eye disease.