A professorship requires a high degree of research skills, both scientifically and pedagogically. Anders Kvanta has together with his research group conducted high-impact research, published over 70 scientific articles in reputable journals and supervised six PhD students to dissertation. He also has extensive clinical competence as a vitreoretinal surgeon.
“It is an honour to hold a professorship at KI, one of the world's leading medical universities. It is also a recognition of the work I have done within the area of ophthalmologic research together with my talented colleagues and a confirmation that the work we do is at the absolute forefront internationally,” he says.
Researching in retinal diseases
Anders Kvanta conducts research on common diseases of the retina of the eye with the aim of developing new and improved treatments. Among other things, he researches age-related-macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly. The disease has two forms, wet and dry. His research has contributed to the development of the current treatment for the wet form of age-related-macular degeneration.
The dry form of the disease is still incurable; the cells in the retinal macula stop functioning normally or die and the affected patient gradually loses vision in the central field of vision. The stem cell research, carried out by Anders Kvanta and his research group, is conducted in order to treat the dry form and is giving new hope. So far it has been successful and soon a clinical study will be initiated, where retinal cells produced from embryonic stem cells will be transplanted into patients with dry age-related-macular degeneration with the goal to develop a treatment that halts vision loss or restores vision.
For the past five years, Anders Kvanta and his research group have also conducted research within the area of gene therapy in patients with a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary retinal degeneration, that leads to destruction of the vision cells in the eye. The disease is caused by a lack of a protein in the visual cycle and currently there is no effective treatment. It is the first study in the world where the gene therapy drug CPK850 will be tested on patients with the hereditary disease.
“I hope that this professorship can contribute to give our research more resources and increase publicity for gene therapy and embryonic stem cell-based regenerative medicine, two exciting areas that can give us a whole new generation of treatments for diseases threatening our vision where there is currently no treatment,” says Anders Kvanta.