A new, detailed genetic roadmap of glaucoma — the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness — will help researchers develop new drugs to combat the disease, by identifying potential target areas to stall or reverse vision loss.
The research, one of the largest and most detailed stem cell modelling studies reported for any disease, is published today in Cell Genomics.
By comparing stem cell models of the retinal ganglion cells of people with Primary Open Angle Glaucoma to those without the disease, more than 300 novel genetic features of these cells were uncovered.
The findings are the result of a national collaboration led by Professor Alex Hewitt (Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania), Professor Alice Pébay and Dr Maciej Daniszewski (University of Melbourne) and Ms Anne Senabouth and Professor Joseph Powell (Garvan Institute of Medical Research).
Professor Hewitt, who is Head of Clinical Genetics at CERA, says the study will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms that damage retinal ganglion cells and lead to the onset of glaucoma.
This will help researchers develop new drugs to combat glaucoma, by identifying potential new areas to target to stall or reverse vision loss caused by the disease.
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