Fenofibrate, a drug routinely used for the treatment of high levels of triglycerides, is able to stimulate the level of circulating stem cells in patients with diabetic retinopathy: this is what emerges from a study conducted by researchers from the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM ) and of the Department of Medicine of the University of Padua and under the coordination of Gian Paolo Fadini, Associate Professor of Endocrinology and Principal Investigator of the Experimental Diabetology Unit of the VIMM.


Fadini Lab at VIMM

The article – published in “Diabetologia, the official journal of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) – starts according to the reconstruction of Benedetta Bonora, first author of the study, from the previous observations of two major international studies according to which fenofibrate, a drug commonly used also in diabetics to lower the concentration of triglycerides in the blood, was able to protect against the progression of retinopathy, a fearful chronic complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness and for which the therapeutic weapons available are limited.

We had noticed – underlines Gian Paolo Fadini – that diabetic patients with low levels of circulating stem cells have an increased risk of progressing to more advanced stages of retinopathy. We therefore sought to understand how it is possible to stimulate circulating stem cells, which play a key role in protecting tissues and organs from chronic damage and whose protective mechanism is compromised by diabetes. Starting from this assumption, our laboratory will be able to work in identifying therapeutic approaches to restore organ protection through stem cells in patients with diabetes “.