Retina – Kvanta and André's research group

The research team is led by Professor Anders Kvanta and Dr Helder André, with a research portfolio to provide unpreceded cellular and molecular mechanistic views on neovascular and degenerative retinal diseases, with high focus on translational sustainable therapy strategies for patients with blinding diseases.

The Kvanta/André group conducts translational studies focused on identifying and improving treatments of several retinal diseases, including retinal degenerations, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic retinopathy. The key area of our current research is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common and rapidly increasing sight-threatening diseases. Advanced AMD is a major cause of severe central vision loss affecting more than 180 million people globally (over 100,000 in Sweden). Despite a seemingly low incidence, AMD has one the of fastest rates of increased prevalence in the developed world as a consequence of an aging population, and is estimated to become an immense burden for healthcare systems worldwide, with massive economic implications. Due to the protracted nature of AMD, the multifactorial mechanisms involved, and current therapeutic limitations there is a great need for long-term therapies that can regenerate lost retinal cells or mitigate multiple angiogenic and inflammatory factors known to be associated with AMD, simultaneously allowing for sustainable treatments.

By elaborating the mechanisms behind retinal diseases and their implications to both physiology and pathology, we can then translate them into future therapies to fight blindness.

Interested in joining the Kvanta/André Lab?

Applications for PhD candidate and postdoc positions are very welcomed from applicants with financing. We also encourage early contacts to plan applications for external personal grants.



Selected publications


Standing funding

·Novo Nordisk Collaborative support

·The ARMEC Lindberg Foundation

·ALF Medicine

·The Swedish Eye Foundation

·The Crown Princess Margareta Association for the Visually Impaired

·The Edwin Jordan Foundation

·KI Foundations and Funds

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group

Group Alumni

Selçuk Tunik, Associate Professor at University of Dicle, Turkey

Effat Alizadeh, Associate Professor at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran

Jóhann Gu∂mundsson, Head of Ophthalmology at Lanspitali, Iceland

Sandra Petrus-Reurer, Postdoc at Cambridge University, UK

Parviz Mammadzada, MD Ophthalmology Specialist at Örebro hospital, Sweden

Research projects

The common goal of the Kvanta/André Lab is to develop new treatments for neovascular and degenerative retinal disease. Our experimental projects include molecular and cell biology studies, and preclinical animal models aimed to identify new molecules and pathways relevant to the onset of neovascularization and cell death for these retinal conditions. In addition, preclinical studies are ongoing with gene therapy to treat vascular retinal diseases. Our previous and ongoing research has contributed to the successful development of break-through treatments for wet (neovascular) AMD and has laid the ground for regenerative treatment of dry (degenerative) AMD using human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE).

  • Mechanistic and therapeutic studies on ocular vascular diseases
  • Sustainable gene therapy for neovascular AMD
  • Bench-to-bedside cellular regenerative treatments of dry AMD
  • A platform for cellular regenerative treatments of retinal diseases
  • A preclinical bioengineering approach for the treatment of Diabetes


Mechanistic and therapeutic studies on ocular vascular diseases

The field is compartmentalized on the pathophysiological mechanisms of eye neovascular diseases between either local tissue ischemia or the presence of low-grade inflammatory reaction. The Kvanta/Andrélab’s goal is to establish molecular, cellular and preclinicalmodels relevant for ocular neovascular pathologies, and developstrategies to better improve the relationship between basic and clinicalresearch. Many of our projects have been fundamental contributors to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlyingocularpathologies and have paved the foundation for several randomized clinical studies on going in the Kvanta/André group.

Sustainable gene therapy for neovascular AMD

Current treatments for neovascular AMD patients consider intra-ocular injectionsof anti-vascular factorsfor lifethatmust be repeated every 6-8 weeks. The Kvanta/André research has identified a clear role for hypoxia in mediating the vascular and several other factors associated with neovascular AMD, including multiple inflammatorycytokines. Our work was pioneer in revealing the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) as the transcriptional mediators for neovascular progression of AMD, and led us to create a bonafide long-term and sustainablegene therapy for neovascular AMD, with substantialpotential for future clinical intervention.

Bench-to-bedside cellular regenerative treatments of dry AMD

We have developed a project to study cell transplantation therapies of hESC-derived RPE cells in ourclinically relevantmodel, which benefit the translational value of cell-based therapies in AMD. Currently, we have established a collaborative agreement between Karolinska Institutet, St. Erik Eye Hospital and NovoNordisk to conduct a first-in-human clinical trialaimed at treatingdry AMD with our hESC-RPE cells.

A platform for cellular regenerative treatments of retinaldiseases

Cellular regenerative treatments face thecaveat of immunorejection of allogeneic donorcells. In a collaborative effort with Prof Fredrik Lanner, hESC cells have been genetically engineered to combat transplantation rejection and act as universal donor for cell-based treatments for degenerative retinal diseases. Currently, we are establishing methodology to efficiently produce hESC-derived photoreceptors to fully address cellular regenerative treatments of retinal diseases

A preclinical bioengineeringapproach forthe treatment of Diabetes

The Kvanta/André Lab is dedicated at establishing clinically relevant models for a cell-basedtreatmentfor diabetes. The overall aim of our collaborative project between Karolinska Institutet, Royal institute of Technology (KTH) and SpiberTechnologiesis to develop hESC-derived glucose-sensing insulin-producing cells as a source of transplantable organoids into the eye for the sustainable treatment of diabetes.



Support our research