Glaucoma is a disorder that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. Glaucoma can be passed on to family members as an inherited disease. It is estimated that 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it. In an attempt to find a cure for this eye disease, experts resorted to stem cell treatment.
There is a new study that stem cell secretion, called exosomes, appear to protect cells in the retina. The exosomes are a potential therapy for glaucoma, which is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Scientists have recently discovered that exosomes are packed with proteins, lipids and gene-regulating RNA. In Ben Mead, Phd., a postdoctoral fellow at NEI, studied the role of stem cell exosomes on retinal ganglion cells.
The death of retinal ganglion cells leads to vision loss in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies. Stem cells have been the main focus of therapy researches due to its ability to regenerate cells any type of cell in the body. However, exosomes alone could be a possible key in preventing glaucoma. Exosomes can be purified, stored and absolutely be dosed in ways that stem cell cannot. Another important benefit of exosomes is that it has a lesser risk than transplanting stem cell into the eye, which could probably lead to immune rejection or unwanted cell growth.
According to the Science Daily, the researchers determined that the protective effects of exosomes are mediated by microRNA, molecules that interfere with or silence gene expression. Researchers would like to develop exosomes of its potential to be used along with other therapies. According to the NJTV, Every child should have an eye examination once growing up. If there are no eye problems, it will be determined at age 35. Everyone is advised to have an eye examination every two years. Then after 65 it should be a yearly eye exam. Exosomes could be a potential prevention of glaucoma however researchers would like to study the possibilities further.