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Thursday / May 30.
HomeminewsUNSW Research on Blindness Questioned

UNSW Research on Blindness Questioned

Multiple investigations have been launched into research led by Professor Levon Khachigian at University of New South Wales, and funding worth millions of dollars, has been frozen pending findings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

Professor Levon Khachigian has been researching the use of a compound known as DZ13 to treat skin cancer, heart disease and blindness.

According to reports questions hang over the “integrity of the data” used in four scientific papers on Professor Khachigian’s research into blindness published in international journals. All include co-authors from other renowned universities and medical research facilities.

Professor Khachigian’s research “evaluated the therapeutic effect of a DNA enzyme targeting c-jun mRNA in mice with pre-existing retinal neovascularization”.

Professor Levon Khachigian has been researching the use of a compound known as DZ13 to treat skin cancer, heart disease and blindness

According to the research summary, “a single injection of Dz13 in a lipid formulation containing N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammoniummethyl-sulfate and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamineinhibited c-Jun expression and reduced retinal microvascular density. The DNAzyme inhibited retinal microvascular density as effectively as VEGF-A antibodies. Comparative microarray and gene expression analysis determined that Dz13 suppressed not only c-jun but a range of growth factors and matrix-degrading enzymes. Dz13 in this formulation inhibited microvascular endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tubule formation in vitro.

Moreover, animals treated with Dz13 sensed the top of the cage in a modified forepaw reach model, unlike mice given a DNAzyme with scrambled RNA-binding arms that did not affect c-Jun expression. These findings demonstrate reduction of microvascular density and improvement in forepaw reach in mice administered catalytic DNA.”1

Other concerns raised include the reporting of research results and images used in a paper focused on how muscle cells change into plaque – a key cause of heart attacks – by Professor David Vaux, from Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and former university scientist Dr. Ying Morgan who had been working with Professor Khachigian.

Additionally, concerns raised over the science behind the use of DZ13 to treat skin cancer caused a human clinical trial to be stopped in 2013.


1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.elis.tmu.edu.tw/geo/query/acc.cgi?acc=GSE37898