A project for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy wins the 2018 everis Award in Brazil
Based on nanotechnology, this non-invasive treatment - with eye drops - can help millions of people with diabetes who are at risk of losing their vision
The everis foundation, which aims to support and promote entrepreneurship through different initiatives, has announced the winner of the 4th edition of the Prêmio Empreenda Saúde (Entrepreneurship health Awards). This initiative, promoted in collaboration with the Sírio-Libanês Hospital, seeks to stimulate professionals and students from different areas to create solutions that contribute to the improvement of practices, processes, technologies and management methods in the health sector.
The winner is a pharmacological treatment that develops a new nanotechnology-based formula for the non-invasive treatment (eye drops) of diabetic retinopathy. This formula delivers the active ingredient to the inner part of the eye, gradually releasing it. Currently, the therapeutic modalities for the treatment of this ocular complication are laser photocoagulation of the retina, intraocular injection of medicines or even ocular surgeries, all invasive, expensive, risky and with reserved visual prognosis.
It is worth mentioning that the diabetic retinopathy is the major cause of irreversible blindness among diabetic people in working age. Data from the International Diabetes Federation indicate that there are now about 380 million people with diabetes worldwide and about 46 million others live with diabetes without knowing the diagnosis. In addition, it is estimated that one in two or three diabetic patients will have some form of diabetic retinopathy, at risk of vision loss.
‘Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in different countries, accounting for 12% - about 5,000 - of all new cases of blindness per year worldwide. It makes me very uncomfortable to continue seeing people with vision loss caused by this disease on a daily basis. This was the main motivation to develop this work’, says the project leader Jacqueline Mendonça Lopes de Faria, doctor with postdoctoral studies from Harvard University, researcher and professor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences/UNICAMP. ‘This has been the beginning of a story that, I am sure, will move on to another phase and make a great positive impact for many people around the world, thanks to this unexpected award from the everis foundation. I am very satisfied, happy and proud to be in this environment, meeting important people who will be part of this story," she concludes.
More than 200 projects registered
The fourth edition of the Prêmio Empreenda Saúde has received more than 200 projects focused on improving the health sector. All the initiatives have been submitted to an evaluation commission and a panel of judges made up of representatives from the areas of education, research and innovation, and entrepreneurs from various health fields in Brazil. The analysis of the projects was based on the criteria of applicability, innovation and level of contribution to the improvement of the health system (size of benefited population). In addition to the economic award, equivalent to R$ 50 thousand reais, the winner will receive specialized counselling from everis to implement their idea in the Brazilian market.
The award consists of 60,000 euros in cash and a mentoring program offered by everis professionals and other professionals in the field.
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