Foundational paper of DFG research unit FOR 2240 in top 5 highly cited papers

One of the chief foundational papers for the DFG research unit FOR 2240 at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cologne has been awarded a “Highly Cited Research” certificate. The paper, “Novel anti(lymph)angiogenic treatment strategies for corneal and ocular surface diseases” was co-authored by PD Dr. rer. nat. Felix Bock, Dr. Kazuichi Maruyama, Dr. rer. nat. Birgit Regenfuss, Dr. med. Deniz Hos, PD Dr. med. Philipp Steven, Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Ludwig M. Heindl, and Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Claus Cursiefen.

The journal in which this highly-cited paper appeared, Progress in Retinal and Eye Research (Editor-in-chief Neville Osborne), is consistently the highest-ranked journal in ophthalmology. The paper, published in 2013, was one of the five most highly cited papers during 2014, 2015 and up until June 2016 that was published in this journal.

Co-author Prof. Cursiefen is the Director of the University Eye Clinic in Cologne and is the Speaker of FOR 2240. Together with co-author Dr. Bock, he leads Project 1 of the FOR 2240 as principle investigator in Cologne, and along with co-author Dr. Regenfuss, he is one of the leaders of Project 2 of the FOR 2240 in Cologne as well. Co-author Dr. Kazuichi Maruyama is Lecturer in the Department of Ophthalmology of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. The remaining three co-authors are also now principle investigators of FOR 2240 projects in Cologne: Dr. Hos (Project 5), Dr. Steven (Central Project 1), and Prof. Heindl (Project 4).

In an overview, the paper provides information on the vascular anatomy of the normal ocular surface and looks at two issues from the molecular point of view: what normally keeps blood vessels and lymphatic vessels out of the cornea on the one hand and what allows their pathological intrusion on the other. Three novel treatment strategies that target (lymph)angiogenesis are focused on in more detail. The first concerns modulation of immune responses after (corneal) transplantation, which is the topic of FOR 2240 Project 1, the second concerns ways of preventing metastasis and recurrence of ocular surface tumors such as malignant melanoma of the conjunctiva, which is the topic of FOR 2240 Project 4, and the third concerns treatment development for ocular surface inflammatory diseases such as dry eye. The latter topic is a specialty of Dr. Steven, the principle investigator of FOR 2240 Central Project 1, the Cologne Experimental Eye Imaging Center.