San Raffaele Hospital and San Raffaele Scientific Institute are major components of the San Raffaele Biomedical Park, the largest facility in Italy integrating hospital care, basic and clinical research, University and post-graduate teaching, biotechnology transfer, and science-to-industry interface. Type 2 diabetes has been a key area of research at the San Raffaele since its founding in 1975. The continuing commitment of the Institution to type 2 diabetes is proven by the launching in October 2007 (on the occasion of “Diabetes Day”) of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). The DRI has the mission of unifying and integrating basic and clinical research, teaching and clinical care to provide a center of excellence and international point of reference for research and care in diabetes. The research themes currently emphasized for T2D are prevention and cure of complications. The clinical and basic Departments relevant to the current project include the Ophthalmology Unit of Ospedale San Raffaele that is divided into 14 services covering the whole field of Ophthalmology. The services are closely connected with each other and with other units of the Hospital to provide a complete answer in case of complex diseases that involve different areas. The Medical Retina Service is composed of Maculopathy, Chorioretinal Dystrophies and Retinal Vasculopathies clinics. The mission of the Service of Retinal Vasculopathies is to manage DR and DME understanding the underlying pathology in order to develop novel treatments to prevent and cure this severe cause of vision loss. Several clinical trials (from phase II to IV) have been performed over these last 2 decades on DME mainly concerning: efficacy and safety of different laser sources, retinal imaging, functional tests, pathogenetic mechanisms, bio- and genetic markers, and , more recently, most of the multicenter international studies on the efficacy and safety of intravitreal drugs and systemic therapies. The Ophthalmology Unit is focused not only on research in clinical ophthalmology and imaging development but also on basic research. The Vision First Research Unit arises from the cooperation between the Ophthalmology Department, directed by Professor Francesco Bandello and the Complications of Diabetes Unit (directed by Gianpaolo Zerbini, MD, PhD). Recent research projects conducted by the unit are focused on the evaluation of the behaviour of endothelial progenitor cells in DR and AMD, the retinal and choroidal structure in-vivo long-lasting diabetes mouse model, the citicoline topical treatment and the chromogranin A-derived vasostatin-1 on laser-induced choroidal neovascularization in the mouse. Finally, the Endocrine and Diabetes Division (Prof. Emanuele Bosi). More than 4000 type 2 diabetic patients are presently followed in the Outpatient Clinic of this Division. The tight collaboration between Ophthalmology Unit and Endocrine and Diabetes Division has allowed, during the last few years, to successfully conduct a large number of clinical research studies.
OSR will participate in WP1, WP2 (WP co-leader), WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6, WP8, and WP9