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Optical imaging platform for high-throughput longitudinal studies of the eye in disease models

Objective

Loss of vision is frequently related to disorders of the retina that may be either primary or secondary such as involvement in metabolic or neurologic disorders. Since the retina constitutes an easily accessible outpost of the brain, it emerged as top research target for non-invasive diagnostics of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Preclinical testing in rodents is an essential element in the process of exploring novel therapeutic compounds. The gold standard for such research and development read-out relies on histological confirmation, which, however, requires the animals to be sacrificed. In contrast, optical imaging methods enable rapid identification of pathologic tissue structures based on intrinsic contrast. In ERC Starting Grant OPTIMALZ, we have developed a novel multi-contrast optical imaging platform for longitudinal studies of the retina. Based on high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology, our prototype provides 3D images based on the light backscattered from the retina as well as polarization contrast for the identification of pigmented lesions, and OCT angiography for visualizing the microvasculature without the need for contrast-agent. Unlike histology, our platform allows for repeated, non-invasive imaging of live rodents’ eyes and thereby greatly reduces the number of animals required for a study. We have successfully demonstrated the powerful potential of our technology in rodent models of primary retinal degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. The PoC project OPTIMEYEZ shall now expand our imaging portfolio to include additional models, improve technological aspects, and make our imaging platform accessible to key players in pharmaceutical industry. By securing intellectual property, developing business strategies, and establishing further commercialization concepts together with users from pharmaceutical industry, this project will take our technology from our lab to next generation biomedical eye/brain research.

Keywords

Host institution

MEDIZINISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN
Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Address
SPITALGASSE 23
1090 Wien
Austria

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Region
Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)