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Novel Cause of Glaucoma Discovered in Animal Model

First Posted: Sep 10, 2014 03:41 PM EDT
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Glaucoma remains a leading cause of blindness throughout the world. As it stands, older individuals are at a higher risk for the health issue, but younger individuals can still suffer from the problem, with 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States diagnosed with the disorder. African Americans are also more likely to be diagnosed with the health issue.

New findings published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation investigates a recently discovered novel cause of glaucoma found in an animal model. Based on this new research, the study authors have also developed an animal eye drop aimed at curing the disease.

The study has identified molecular building blocks that are needed to make the "drainage" vessels providing the necessary chemical tools to repair the eye's plumbing and restore normal drainage.

"This is a big step forward in understanding the cause of the disease that steals the eyesight from 60 million people worldwide," said senior study author and Northwestern Medicine nephrologist Susan Quaggin, M.D., in a news release. "This gives us a foothold to develop new treatments."

"Our goal now is to grow new 'pipes' or vessels to cure the glaucoma," concluded Quaggin, also the Charles Mayo Chair of Medicine at Feinberg.

With future findings, researchers hope to futher determine how to help individuals suffering from this potentially devastating health issue. 

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