Text Size Normal Text Sizing Button Medium Text Sizing Button Large Text Sizing Button Text Contrast Normal Contrast Button Reverse Contrast Button Switch to Spanish Language Press Room Contact Us Sitemap Sign In Register
Link to Homepage About BrightFocus
Donate Now Get Involved  
Alzheimer's Disease Research Macular Degeneration Research National Glaucoma Research

Sign up for Email Notifications
If you would like to be notified when funding or meeting opportunities are announced please click on the link below.

Sign up for new announcements.

Please add ResearchGrants@BrightFocus.org to your institution’s white list to insure that the notification is not blocked by your organization’s SPAM filters.

This email list is not sold or distributed, and serves only as an annual reminder of the availability of research support through the BrightFocus Foundation (www.brightfocus.org). Please follow instructions on the notification emails for removal requests.

BrightFocus Research Grants Funding
Grant Funding for Alzheimer's Research
Grant Funding for Macular Degeneration Research
Grant Funding for Glaucoma Research


Macular Degeneration Research
Completed Award

Photo Pending

Jayakrishna Ambati, M.D.

University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Lexington, KY

Title: The Role of SPARC in Macular Propensity for CNV
Non-Technical Title: The role of SPARC protein in new blood vessel growth

Duration: April 1, 2007 - March 31, 2009
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $100,000


This study will characterize SPARC protein characteristics in patients with and without AMD and further test the utility of inhibiting SPARC to reduce new blood vessel growth in animal models.


Age-related macular degeneration is as common as cancer in the United States. The principal cause of vision loss AMD is choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the growth of abnormal blood vessels (angiogenesis) beneath the retina. CNV is devastating because it occurs almost always in the macula, the central retina that provides fine vision. The reason for this macular propensity is unknown. We have identified a protein called SPARC that is present almost exclusively in the macula and increased in AMD. We have also shown that the presence of SPARC is necessary for VEGF-A, a potent molecule that promotes angiogenesis, to perform this function. We have also shown that the presence or absence of SPARC determines whether VEGF-A acts via VEGF receptor-1, which suppresses angiogenesis, or VEGF receptor-2, which promotes angiogenesis. We will determine the levels of SPARC, VEGF-A and the activity of VEGF receptors in the macula and peripheral retina in patients with or without AMD, and whether blocking SPARC reduces CNV in animal models. We will determine whether the differential distribution of SPARC underlies the macular propensity of CNV and whether modulating SPARC will reduce the attractiveness of the macula for CNV development, thereby permitting improved vision in patients with AMD.