New eye clinical trials facility launches in Vic


Monday, 20 May, 2024

New eye clinical trials facility launches in Vic

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) has launched a new specialist ophthalmic clinical trial facility, Cerulea Clinical Trials, in Victoria to coincide with the World Clinical Trials Day.

The new facility hopes to bring more international trials to the state, giving people living with vision loss and blindness early access to sight-saving therapies.

A fully owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of CERA, Cerulea Clinical Trials will specialise in advanced therapeutics to prevent and treat blindness, including gene and cell therapies, biologics and medical devices.

Cerulea Clinical Trials CEO Michelle Gallaher said, "There is a growing pipeline of discovery with new medicines and devices being developed around the world and Cerulea Clinical Trials provides the perfect location to conduct these trials.

"Our aim is to build a specialist clinical trial centre that cements Victoria's reputation as a world leader in preventing blindness and reducing the impact of vision loss," Gallaher said.

Industry and research partnerships

Cerulea will collaborate with global pharmaceutical and medtech companies and be the home of clinical research conducted by scientists from CERA and ophthalmology researchers with the University of Melbourne’s Department of Surgery.

The facility will test new therapies for eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, inherited retinal disease and other rare genetic eye conditions — with a major focus on trialling new therapies for diseases that currently have no treatment or cure. In the next year Cerulea expects to begin new clinical trials on gene therapies for retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt’s disease.

Located at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne, the facility houses next-generation eye photography and imaging suites, vision lanes, as well as laser and treatment rooms for administering and monitoring therapies.

It will also expand access to the community by delivering trials via a growing network of suburban and regional eye clinics and a planned tele-trials service.

New treatments for vision loss

Professor Keith Martin, Cerulea Clinical Trials Chair, CERA Managing Director and University of Melbourne Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, said investment in the new centre was a major boost for eye care and eye research in Victoria.

"Cerulea will support the work of lab-based scientists to develop innovative new treatments to prevent vision loss and restore sight," he said.

"It will also benefit local eye care professionals who will be able to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients by providing them access to emerging treatments in clinical trials."

The facility is supported by a $10million investment from Breakthrough Victoria and is expected to deliver clinical trials to more than 2500 Victorians a year over the next decade and create 50 new jobs.

Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley said, "This dedicated eye clinical trials centre will not only benefit local researchers and healthcare innovators in Victoria but also provide patients with access to new eye treatments and technologies."

To register for a clinical trial at Cerulea visit: ceruleaclinicaltrials.org.au/take-part-in-research.

Image credit: iStock.com/Vladislav Stepanov

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