Novel drug to slow cataracts on their path to causing blindness
The innovators behind commercialising a world-first drug to slow cataract growth and to delay cataracts forming, have been named as one of five finalists in The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School's $100,000 Enterprize business plan competition.
The drug being commercially developed by Adelaide-based Calpain Therapeutics targets a protein in the eye's tissue.
Severe cataracts are the leading cause of blindness around the world.
Although most cataracts develop as people get older, they can also be caused by diabetes, eye injury, exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight, long-term use of steroid medication, smoking and heavy drinking.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness estimates that almost 18 million people are blind from cataracts.
Many of those are in the world's poorer regions.
Currently there are no drops or medications to prevent or reverse cataracts.
The only treatment is to have the cloudy lens surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic lens.
More than 200,000 cataract surgeries are performed in Australia each year and about 3.4 million a year in the United States.
There are often long waiting lists in public hospitals for the surgery.
Testing of the lead drug compound being advanced by Calpain Therapeutics has shown that it significantly slows cataract progression.
Our drug could be either drops or a cream that you put in your eyes each night before you go to sleep, says Calpain Therapeutics founding CEO and Managing Director, Dr. Tim Lovell.
Through a routine eye exam, optometrists and ophthalmologists can see the early stages of a cataract forming, likely before the person has any idea they have it.
"Once it's detected, then you could start to use the drug to slow its progress.
And because we know that if you have a cataract in one eye you will most likely get one in the other eye, you could start to apply the drug to both eyes, delaying the onset of a cataract in one while slowing the growth of the cataract that has been diagnosed.
We see it as akin to brushing your teeth each day.
"You do that to prevent cavities. This would be a drop each day to prevent cataracts.''
A large team is behind the development of the drug.
The lead inventor is Professor Andrew Abell, Professor of Chemistry at Adelaide University, who has been working for the past decade on the class of compounds involved.
Dr. Tim Lovell has previously worked on drug design and development with global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and was most recently a business development manager at Bio Innovation SA in Adelaide.
He says winning the UQ Business School's Enterprize competition $100,000 prize would enable Calpain Therapeutics to do crucial clinical experiments.
We have ophthalmologists on our advisory team who get very excited about what we are doing, because they haven't seen anything in their careers like this to delay the forming of cataracts, and which also has a possible secondary effect in protecting against other eye diseases, Dr. Lovell says.
Since its inception in 2000, the Enterprize competition has assisted many successful businesses, including Fusion Sport, Codesion (formerly CVSDude), BakBalls, last year's winner Southern Innovation and finalist last year Vaxxas (which is pioneering the Nanopatch needle-free vaccine delivery system).
Provided by University of Queensland
- Scientific evidence supports effectiveness of Chinese drug for cataracts Jan 12, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- MU researchers find clue to cataract formation Apr 17, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- The world's most common operation Nov 09, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- From outer space to the eye clinic: New cataract early detection technique Jan 12, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- New evidence that popular dietary supplement may help prevent, treat cataracts Jul 15, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
The Durability of Bone: Long Falls
5 hours ago I am doing a paper on the physics in Valve's Portal and got interested in the "Long Fall Boots" that prevent any damage no matter how far you fall. I...
Is energy convertible to matter?
6 hours ago Can we convert energy to matter?
Rotating electron as a dipole is this right?
9 hours ago An electron as shown by the Stern Gerlach experiment behaves like a dipole (albeit only in one of two states). I have been trying to figure out how...
Dipole term in multipole expansion
13 hours ago Hi. I'm having some difficult in understanding something about the dipole term in a multipole expansion. Griffiths writes the expansion as a sum of...
Bubbles in a Pre-Boiling/Boiling pot of water
14 hours ago How is it that bubbles form on the bottom of a surface of a pot of boiling water? I think that there is probably an elementary answer to this...
Assumptions of Griffith's fracture theory
May 21, 2013 Any experts on Griffith's fracture theory? I am studying the subject and I am having hard time finding out if the theory is valid for all possible...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Prostaglandin analogues (PGAs), drugs which lower intraocular pressure, are often the first line of treatment for people with glaucoma, but their use is not without risks. PGAs have long been associated with blurred vision, ...
Ophthalmology 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Exposure to sunshine as a small child is crucial to the development of a healthy eye according to results of long-term myopia study conducted by University of Sydney researchers.
Ophthalmology 20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
The most common cause of failure after glaucoma surgery is scarring at the surgical site, so researchers are actively looking for ways to minimize or prevent scar formation. Previous work had suggested that vascular endothelial ...
Ophthalmology May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
New research is emphasizing the importance of regular screenings for glaucoma, a disease that deteriorates the optic nerve over time and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The onset of glaucoma is associated ...
Ophthalmology May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, have been working with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to develop special 3-D glasses and games to help treat children ...
Ophthalmology May 08, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
16 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
14 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (11) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
16 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (7) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
9 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |