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Eye Drops Could Clear Up Cataracts Using Newly Identified Chemical

(University of California, San Francisco) A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, has been identified by a team of scientists…
Identified as a "priority eye disease" by the World Health Organization, cataracts -- caused when the lenses of the eyes lose their transparency -- affect more than 20 million people worldwide. Although cataracts can be successfully removed with surgery, this approach is expensive, and most individuals blinded by severe cataracts in developing countries go untreated…
[T]he newly identified compound is the first that is soluble enough to potentially form the basis of a practical eye-drop medication for cataracts.
"If you look at an electron micrograph at the protein aggregates that cause cataracts, you'd be hard-pressed to tell them apart from those that cause Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or Huntington's diseases," [said Jason Gestwicki, PhD]. "By studying cataracts we've been able to benchmark our technologies and to show by proof-of-concept that these technologies could also be used in nervous system diseases, to lead us all the way from the first idea to a drug we can test in clinical trials."
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