Science

New Technology Promises Nonsurgical Cataract Treatment

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 10, 2017 03:16 AM EST
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A new technology is on its way to being available as a non-surgical treatment for cataract. The Janssen Pharmaceuticals has just been recently licensed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop a new treatment that holds promise of revolutionizing procedures for cataracts and presbyopia. It is based on early phase discoveries by physicist Murugappan Muthukumar and Ben Mohr that focuses on the fundamental science of proteins in the lens of the human eye.

Muthukumar, a distinguished professor in Polymer Science and Engineering, and a lifelong eye enthusiast, has done extensive study and understanding of vision. He specializes in the lens of the human eye, its structure and functions. He explains the formation of cataract as an aggregation or clumping of the molecules that make up the lens, which then results in the undesirable scattering of light, the Eurekalert reports.

"I wanted to understand how this aggregation takes place, because if I understand it, I can come up with an approach to correct it," Muthukumar adds. In a related way, treating presbyopia all depends on understanding the origin and nature of cataract. So if the new technology offers a treatment for cataract, it can be used for treating presbyopia as well, the Medical Xpress reports.

In their early phase experiments, Muthukumar and colleagues deliver light into protein solutions hundreds of times, and measure how much came out and at what angle. These measurements provide a simplified model of how molecules are arranged in the human lens.The company's announcement of this long-term collaboration with UMass Amherst, which is one of 15 new healthcare research partnerships revealed to the public this month, has Janssen Pharmaceuticals saying that these age-related eye conditions represent "an area of high unmet need" that will benefit from the company's pursuit of new technology to deliver cutting-edge science.

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