07 November 2015

Nonsurgical treatment for cataracts

Researchers... have developed a new drug that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eye dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts - the leading cause of blindness in humans. 

The new drug is based on a naturally-occurring steroid called lanosterol. The idea to test the effectiveness of lanosterol on cataracts came to the researchers when they became aware of two children in China who had inherited a congenital form of cataract, which had never affected their parents. The researchers discovered that these siblings shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, which their parents lacked...

They tested their lanosterol-based eye drops in three types of experiments. They worked with human lens in the lab and saw a decrease in cataract size. They then tested the effects on rabbits, and according to Hanae Armitage at Science Mag, after six days, all but two of their 13 [rabbits] had gone from having severe cataracts to mild cataracts or no cataracts at all. Finally, they tested the eye drops on dogs with naturally occurring cataracts. Just like the human lens in the lab and the rabbits, the dogs responded positively to the drug, with severe cataracts shrinking away to nothing, or almost nothing.  
Publication in Nature.  Discussion at Reddit.

1 comment:

  1. The optometrist tells me I have a few years yet before I have to think about cataract removal. I wonder if by then this treatment will be the standard?


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