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  • Writer's pictureRiccardo Natoli

Philanthropic Gift to the ANU and Clear Vision Research – K.T. Tan PhD Scholarship

I would like to thank ANU alumna Dr Suan Tan for her generous donation to the ANU and to support the Clear Vision Research Initiative to foster the next generation of vision researchers through the K.T. Tan PhD Scholarship. This PhD scholarship is named in honour of Dr Suan Tan’s late father K.T. Tan. This donation will provide a stipend for a PhD student for 4 years as well as provide research support costs to work on an entrepreneurial project in the ANU Clear Vision Research Laboratory. My team and I are incredibly honoured to be involved with this gift. It is also a fantastic opportunity for a talented PhD student to commence their journey into vision research with the support of a 4 year paid PhD scholarship. The project will be looking at the use of microRNA as both therapeutics and diagnostics for the treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is the most common cause of blindness in Australia, costing the Australian economy at least 5 billion dollars, and the global economy over 350 billion dollars annually. Current projections indicate that by 2030, 1.7 million people in Australia will suffer vision loss from AMD. The risk factors for AMD are well known, as is the association with underlying inflammatory dysregulation and oxidative stress, which are implicated in both neov

ascularization of the macula (‘wet’ AMD) and progressive photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) degeneration (‘dry’ AMD). Treatments for exudative ‘wet’ AMD target the predominant angiogenic factor in the eye, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In 2013, total drug sales for AMD amounted to approximately US$5.1bn, with the US making up 49% of global sales. These figures are expected to rise quickly to over US$10bn by 2023, a trend driven largely by an aging population. However, no treatments are currently available for the more prevalent atrophic ‘dry’ AMD. With only 10% of all AMD cases currently treatable, there is a major unmet clinical need for effective treatment strategies for all forms of AMD. A significant opportunity for societal impact and commercial partnership therefore exists in addressing dry AMD which through the K.T. Tan PhD Scholarship will support this much needed progress to finding treatments. For more information on the work we are doing please visit:

Dr. Riccardo Natoli

Head of Clear Vision Research Laboratory

ANU Medical School and John Curtin School of Medical Research

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