Cataracts affect more than 15 million people worldwide and are the leading cause of blindness, especially in regions with a lack of access to qualified surgeons. Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson are leading a study to identify the biological mechanisms that cause cataracts in the hopes that new, nonsurgical treatments may be developed.
Nicholas Delamere, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Physiology, was awarded a $1.6 million grant from the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to study the role of two protein ion channels – TRPV1 and TRPV4 – in the development of cataracts.
“Human cataract is frequently associated with failure of the mechanisms controlled by TRPV1 and TRPV4. The hope is that studies like this might pave the way to the development of strategies to prevent or delay age-related eye diseases,” said Delamere.