The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative Biorepository and Resource Center
One of the major barriers to research in diabetic retinal disease (DRD) is the limited availability of human eye tissue from patients with diabetes. Unlike other tissues affected by diabetes, the retina usually cannot be safely biopsied in living patients, hence the key need to obtain post-mortem human tissue. The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative’s Biorepository and Resource Center will be a game-changer in the fight to end vision loss from DRD by providing a critical resource to accelerate development of methods to preserve, restore, and protect vision in people with diabetes.
As the only such biorepository dedicated to DRD in the world, this will be a unique shared and standardized platform to enable DRD research into the cellular mechanisms and molecular pathways that underlie DRD onset and worsening.
The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative aims to collect and deeply analyze ocular tissues and fluids from over 1000 donors over the next four years.
This effort will provide researchers with detailed molecular analyses of samples and associated sharable data to enhance our understanding of the disease and catalyze collaboration. The project is modeled after the Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD), which has revolutionized the understanding of pancreas changes in diabetes, and the Michigan Kidney Translational Medicine Center that uses kidney biopsies to profoundly expand our understanding of diabetic kidney disease.
We have dedicated staff and established practices to support a successful and scalable biorepository, positioned to serve the global scientific community. The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative Biorepository and Resource Center (MTM-BRC) has been established at the University of Michigan (UM) in the Kellogg Eye Center, and is affiliated with the UM Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute. The MTM-BRC will include ocular tissues and fluids that are processed, characterized, molecularly analyzed and preserved by our expert team. The MTM-BRC is supervised by Dr. Patrice Fort, who has established the methods and quality controls for this unique ocular tissue biorepository. His related research has been recently published in six high-tier publications and lays the framework for this expanded undertaking and the collaborative research potential of this project.
The MTM-BRC will leverage the team’s long-standing relationships with multiple national eye banks (Eversight, Advancing Sight Network, The Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, among others) to procure eye tissue. Additionally, the project is supported by the University of Michigan Central Biorepository (CBR), a unit of the UM Medical School Office of Research. The CBR is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and provides world-class, standardized, safe, and monitored environment for the processing, storage, and distribution of high-quality biospecimens annotated with detailed clinical and laboratory data. The CBR currently stores 650,000+ biospecimens and has distributed 100,000+ samples. The CBR uses advanced systems to assure that every precious specimen is carefully stored and protected from power failures or other unforeseen events.
Our goal is to perform OMIC (proteomic, lipidomic and transcriptomic) analyses and detailed histologic and imaging characterization of over 250 ocular donor samples per year. These data will be available to academic and industry scientists to provide the entire diabetes research community with a critical quantity of high-quality samples and associated data necessary to better understand the pathogenesis of DRD and develop novel therapies to improve patients’ lives.
Support our work by donating today to the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative fund to PRESERVE and RESTORE vision for people with diabetes.
The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative is a joint effort of the Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, MD Charitable Foundation, the University of Michigan’s Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute and Kellogg Eye Center, EIF, and JDRF.