NOV 30, 2018
Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Retina/Vitreous
A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.
Cataract formation is a lot like playing hot potato, researchers explained in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The team coined the metaphor after finding that gamma-crystallin proteins, which clump together to form cloudy cataracts, pass disulfide bonds from protein to protein, just as friends pass a hot potato from person to person. When a disulfide bond lands on a protein that has been damaged by oxidative stress or UV light, the damaged proteins aggregate. The team is testing a treatment that could soak up disulfides and prevent clumping. Journal of Biological Chemistry
A nanoparticle disguised as a virus may help preserve the blebs created during glaucoma surgery, providing a less toxic, more targeted alternative to mitomycin-C. In this months’ issue of Molecular Therapy, a team from NanoGenics reported that their artificial virus can successfully silence a fibrosis gene, MRTF-B, in rabbits (shown above) and lab-grown human fibroblasts. If the findings hold up in humans, the gene therapy could help improve glaucoma surgery outcomes. Molecular Therapy
Who needs a light saber when you can have a light scalpel? A Polytechnique Montréal engineer says his light scalpel, built from gold nanoparticles and a femtosecond laser, can carve nano-sized holes on the retinal cell surface that are just large enough to let therapeutic molecules pass through. This could offer a non-viral delivery mechanism for gene therapies. Nano Letters
Luxturna is cleared for sales in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway—making it the first gene therapy approved on both sides of the Atlantic. The single-dose gene therapy can now be marketed to adults and children with inherited retinal dystrophy stemming from biallelic RPE65 mutations. Spark Therapeutics
Novartis is funding development of a low-cost home monitor to track progression of AMD and diabetic retinopathy. The monitors are the brainchild of Compact Imaging, a company known for making miniaturized OCT devices. Clinical trials are slated to begin in 2019. Novartis