Fight for Sight is funding new research on molecular scaffolding, which could restore nerve connections between the eye and brain and repair glaucoma damage. Professors Keith Martin and James Fawcett and team, from the University of Cambridge, will be working with colleagues at the Centre for Eye Research Australia and University of Melbourne.
Specifically, the team will investigate a scaffolding molecule called protrudin, which they believe may help result in successful eye transplants through understanding its connection to the eye and brain. Professor Martin explained, "Despite all currently available treatments, around 10-15% of patients with glaucoma go blind in at least one eye during their lifetime. Our work aims to develop new strategies to repair the optic nerve."
Glaucoma causes harm to retinal ganglion cells. These cells have long axons that pass along the optic nerve. The team has identified protrudin as the strongest promoter of optic nerve regeneration. The hope is that better understanding of this scaffolding will result in connection of eye transplants to the brain via axon growth through the optic nerve.
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