One of the pathological hallmarks of diabetic retinopathy (DR)— the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in the US—is the development of immature, fragile blood vessels on the retina. This process, called angiogenesis, isstimulated by pro-angiogenic molecules such as vascular endothelial growth factorand apelin. Apelin is a newly discovered protein shown to play a critical role in thedevelopment of blood vessels. Several lines of evidence suggest that blocking apelinin the eye would be a successful treatment for DR, which is what we are investigating in this research program.
PCT WO 2015184011 “Agonists of the apelin receptor and methods of use thereof” Pinkerton, A. B.; Smith, L. H.
US 20140005181 “Small molecule antagonists of the apelin receptor for the treatment of disease” Smith, L. H.; Pinkerton, A. B.