Our long-term goal is to develop novel, rational therapeutic approaches to blinding ophthalmological inflammatory diseases, by improving our understanding of the inflammatory processes that govern ophthalmic disease progression. Uveitis is a leading cause of blindness, accounting for approximately 10% of all cases of loss of sight. However, up to 50% of the cases remain idiopathic, clearly demonstrating the need to better understand this disease. Interleukin (IL)-6 is dramatically increased in the sera, aqueous and vitreous of uveitis patients. Moreover, some case studies and small clinical trials suggest that the use of IL-6 antagonists can alleviate the symptoms and improve vision in patients.
We are investigating a role for this pathway in the retinal vasculature that leads to uveitis-associated leukocyte infiltration and retinal edema.