Prof. Sapieha’s one-week stay in Cologne – sponsored by the Medical Faculty’s Visiting Professor Program – included guest lectures, collaborative talks and a visit to the Pro Retina Foundation’s Science Meeting. Chair Univ. Prof. Dr. Thomas Langmann said, “I am not only enthusiastic about the high quality of Mike Sapieha’s research achievements, including his recent three publications in Science, but also about the translational orientation of his research.” Prof. Sapieha founded the biotech company SemaThera and is Chief Scientific Officer of Unity Biotech, which is already conducting clinical trials in AMD and diabetic retinopathy.
Therapeutic inhibition of immune-mediated senescence in the eye, a key mechanism of aging, represents a completely new approach to the treatment of retinal eye diseases. The Cologne Chair thus has a strong research partner from Canada to implement its own ideas on immunomodulation in the eye at the highest international level. The first successes of this cooperation recently led to a joint Science study in which the harmful role of obesity on the immune system in AMD was elucidated.