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Goodbye Surgery? Scientists Just Made Eye Drops that Dissolve Cataracts

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology' started by Dr.Scorpiowoman, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Dr.Scorpiowoman

    Dr.Scorpiowoman Golden Member

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    It could mean a cheap, painless way to restore vision to thousands.

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    Most of us take our vision for granted. As a result, we take the ability to read, write, drive, and complete a multitude of other tasks for granted. However, sight is not so easy for everyone. Indeed, for many people, simply seeing is a struggle.

    There are more than 285 million people worldwide who have vision problems. According to the Fred Hollows Foundation, an estimated 32.4 million people around the world are blind. Ultimately, 90% of these people live in developing countries, and more than half of these cases of blindness are caused by cataracts. Indeed, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world.



    Fortunately, there is a treatment; however, the only option is surgery, and it is prohibitively expensive. This means that, unfortunately, for individuals in developing nations, who often lack access to basic medical care, treatment is not an option.

    But of course, this isn’t just a problem faced by developing nations.

    According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 22 million Americans who are over age 40 have cataracts. By the time they reach 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts, and many will have to undergo painful and expensive surgery or suffer severe vision problems.

    There are, however, other treatment options. Researchers based in the US have created a drug that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eyedropper. And it can dissolve cataracts.

    Despite its remarkable promise, the treatment has yet to be tested on humans. The drug is slated to enter clinical trials, but because of the strict regulations put in place to ensure there are no extreme side effects associated with new drugs, it will be some time before these drops make it to market and can be utilized as a viable alternative to surgery.

    Regardless, this is a great step forward.

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    How It Works

    Cataracts result from the structure of the crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes. Specifically, they form when this structure deteriorates, which causes the proteins to clump together, forming a milky layer over the eye that obstructs vision.

    Scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes the proteins to do this (in other words, they’re not entirely certain why cataracts form in the first place). That said, there are some ideas, and this is where the new drug comes in.

    This treatment was created based on a naturally-occurring steroid, which is known as “lanosterol.” Scientists recently discovered two siblings who had cataracts when their parents did not. These siblings shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol. Notably, their parents did not have this mutation.

    The scientists then thought, if the parents are producing lanosterol and don’t have cataracts, then perhaps their kids have cataracts because they aren’t producing lanosterol. Thus, adding lanosterol to the eye (or something that is similar to it) might stop the crystallin proteins from clumping together and forming cataracts.

    The scientists tested this hypothesis on rabbits, and the results were very promising. After just a week, all but two of their 13 test subjects had gone from having severe cataracts to mild cataracts (or none at all). This drug was also tested on dogs, and it had the same results.

    If the trials on humans are successful, and they make it to market, these eye drops could be used to change the lives of millions around the globe. It could literally mean the difference between blindness and sight. Ruben Abagyan, who co-authored the paper, hopes that the lanosterol drops will have the same impact on cataracts in humans. In the press release, he states, “I think the natural next step is looking to translate it into humans. There’s nothing more exciting than that.”

    Source
     

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    Mary Grace likes this.

  2. 01kelly01

    01kelly01 Young Member

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    Firstly,the reason why the proteins clumps is due to exposure to heat and radiation (unless in cases of hereditary).
    Here in Nigeria,there was a case study done statistically to categorize the sex and profession of those exposed to it.and it was mostly women and drivers.
     

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  3. SUBASHkc19

    SUBASHkc19 Young Member

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    This would take a lot of time .. till then minmal invasive surgery, fentosecond laser cataract surgery will go ahead and make life easier
     

    Nada El Garhy likes this.
  4. Zulu Daniel

    Zulu Daniel Young Member

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    Makes logical scientific sense. I hope the FDC speeds up the process of bringing in this product to the market.
     

    Tia and Nada El Garhy like this.
  5. Anhar A. Chowdhury

    Anhar A. Chowdhury Young Member

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    I am able to recruit volunteers in Bangladesh for clinical trial of your new product that dissolves cataracts. Thanks.
     

  6. Galgallo Ilm Arero Boru

    Galgallo Ilm Arero Boru Young Member

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    This is impressive and good news, i have been implementing eye care community outreach in remote areas in Marsabit County northern part of Kenya. I have interacted with several cataract cases old and young patients who are blind but far flagged referal point that is costly.
     

  7. Akash ramnanansingh

    Akash ramnanansingh Young Member

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    Jus a quick question does the eye drops clear up a cloudy cornea which has been rejected after sugery
     

  8. Santos shirasangi

    Santos shirasangi Young Member

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  9. Santos shirasangi

    Santos shirasangi Young Member

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    Hello doctor my. Dad was eye problem they not clearly see. His eyes in whight liner hear doctor said we want to operation for him and that's clear his eyes .
     

  10. mohammed Aftab

    mohammed Aftab Young Member

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    Hello
    I can help in testing on human in India.
    please contact me +918287740794
    Infact My father is also suffering from Catarat and soon he will go for surgery who is 66 years old
    If I can get the medicine I can save my father from the pain of surgery,
     

  11. Nizam Ismail (Arch-Tech)

    Nizam Ismail (Arch-Tech) Young Member

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    Hi Doc
    I am in Cape Town, South Africa.... Suffering from Cataracts as well.... how can I get hold of this.... Email me nizam at arch-tech.za.net (change the @ sign)
     

  12. Nizam Ismail (Arch-Tech)

    Nizam Ismail (Arch-Tech) Young Member

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    I can attest heat exposure to be one problem,,,
    It was a very cold night and i was laying under the blankets with a small blow heater towards my face... the following few weeks my eyesight deteriorated at such rapid pace, i had to surgically have cataracts removed... ever since, my other eye was also affected... November 2019 coming will be a year since operation... even though the site is much better, i still Marjory have discomfort in the operated eye.... probably because i am diabetic as well
     

  13. Francis NimelyDonnie

    Francis NimelyDonnie Young Member

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    Hi Doc
    I'm in Monrovia, Liberia. There are thousands suffering from cataracts here. Wish to be a part in saving life if you could extend your services here, and considering my email as contact...
     

  14. Narendra Kumar

    Narendra Kumar Young Member

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    If something does come up for topical use to treat cataract, it will certainly be great. But till then simple eye surgery by way of phakoemulsification whereby the natural opacified lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is the accepted choice. And the good news is that the surgery doesn't cost a fortune even in a developing country like India, especially in Government hospitals and centres managed by NGOs. And medical insurance policies generally take care of expenses at private clinics as well. Another point that needs to be emphasised is that cataract can now be operated upon in any stage...when its development starts interfering with the normal day-to-day activities of an individual, and it's unwise to wait for it to get ripened as is shown in this picture! - Editor, Optometry Today, Ophthacare Eye Centre, Janakpuri, New Delhi
     

  15. Menon

    Menon Young Member

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    India has had a treatment for treating cataract without surgery for hundreds, if not 1000s of years old. Villagers still use it. If americans "found" a treatment, it must be stolen knowledge just like they stole Sarpacil, ginger, Turmeric etc
     

  16. Narendra Kumar

    Narendra Kumar Young Member

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    Since cataract is the commonest cause of curable blindness across the universe, the process of clinical trials of the supposedly breakthrough topical-use medication on human beings needs to be expedited - Editor, Optometry Today
     

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  17. The Librarian

    The Librarian Young Member

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    I think it should be pointed out - the video this post is based on, was published in 2016. This year (2019), the doctor involved in this project, Kang Zhang, is being investigated for placing patients in harm's way - plus his cure has either progressed in the last 3 years or it's stalled. Either way - this is not the post to rely on for an up to date look at this project. There have been no updates in the media on this project for the last 3 years - hardly what you'd expect to see in a promising project that's being funded. He quit USCD where he was leading this project in August - https://www.the-scientist.com/news-...fter-investigation-into-ties-with-china-66344.

    Posts about Kang Zhang's alleged issues with patient trials can be found at https://inewsource.org/2019/04/23/u...HsVVSFDlfZVhnxp0HgmVQIyOXKclbDZD8ecNIMDhIHp3I, https://timesofsandiego.com/tech/2019/04/24/ucsd-doctor-kang-zhang-violated-human-research-rules/,

    Fake news starts with us and posts like this with snappy headlines. The background was available - don't just take what you see at face value.
     

  18. Marie Davidson

    Marie Davidson Young Member

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    I would love to offer our dog as a trial of the drops. We have an 8 year old pedigree Cocker Spaniel, ex- show dog (so we rescued her.) she is almost totally blind and has cataracts in both eyes. We would be willing to try the drops on her as sadly the cost of surgery is prohibitive but as a small dog in otherwise excellent health she will Probably be expected to live another 8-10 years.
     

  19. VinceGia

    VinceGia Young Member

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    @The Librarian,

    The news stories were simply allegations which were never proven and no action was taken by the medical board because the care that was provided was within the standard of care and there was no malpractice. Looking at what happened at other research universities such as MDAnderson, Emory, etc with Chinese researchers, it seems he was targeted because of his ethnicity.

    https://time.com/5596066/emory-fires-chinese-researchers/
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/ne...fires-3-scientists-over-concerns-13780570.php

    I guess it's too much to ask someone to think about things outside of what is presented. These drops are going to make a huge shift in patient care especially in areas with shortages of Ophthalmologists.
     

  20. Charles Rassier MD

    Charles Rassier MD Young Member

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    We had a patient just ask about this. Due to increased oxidative stress from the drops it can aggravate conditions such as age related macular degeneration. Plus it had failed to meet its endpoint goals in more than one clinical study. One theory is they can prevent the development of cataracts over time when started at a young age but then you worry about the life long side effects of using the medication over a period of decades.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44676-4.pdf

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231712000079

    https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/...937B37B41F8FCC7C7A33708D67913E944E54C2993987A
     

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019

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