A glaucoma treatment that skips the poke in the eye

November 12, 2018

By Jan Jarvis

Suchismita Web
 
One of the ways researchers are exploring treating the optic nerve damage of glaucoma is an injection directly into the eye.

But Suchismita Acharya, PhD, is studying a different approach that not only takes the pain out of treating this blinding disease but also holds the promise of curing it.

HSC Insider

Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email.

“Wouldn’t an eye drop be so much better?” she said. “Who likes getting poked into the eye?”

Dr. Acharya, a Research Assistant Professor in Pharmacology & Neuroscience and the North Texas Eye Research Institute, is working on a small molecule that can treat glaucoma by simultaneously decreasing eye pressure and protecting neurons and retinal ganglion cells.

“Such a compound could lower pressure in the front of the eye and also reach the back of the eye to protect ganglion cells,” she said. “This could be a cure for glaucoma.”

Her lab has designed and synthesized a unique nanosuspension eye drop of the new hybrid molecule that can reach to the back of the eye. It can easily be manufactured and used to target glaucoma, Dr. Acharya said.

By 2020, more than 76 million people are estimated to be affected by glaucoma, which is associated with elevated eye pressure and progressive death of retinal ganglion cells.

Dr. Acharya said the unique design of the drug makes it possible to both decrease intraocular pressure and prevent retinal ganglion cell death.

BrightFocus Foundation has awarded a $150,000 research grant to Dr. Acharya to further explore this approach. The Maryland-based nonprofit organization supports scientific research for Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

“This grant will help me expand on this research study and allow me to apply for bigger grants to help in evaluating the drug in human eyes and ultimately develop an eye drop to treat glaucoma,” Dr. Acharya said.

Tcom Met Building
HSC creates alternative licensing exam test site for medical students

By Steven Bartolotta Medical students overcame a lot in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning shifted to remote, rotations grinded to a halt and, perhaps most problematic, prometric test sites nationwide shut down in the middle of March with no immediate plans to reopen...Read more

Oct 1, 2020

H. Paul Dorman
50 Heroes: H. Paul Dorman

When entering Tulane University to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree, Paul Dorman’s father paid his first year’s tuition.  From there, he was on his own, working full-time at his father’s company at night and attending Tulane during the day.  More than 60 years later, Mr. Dor...Read more

Sep 28, 2020

default photo
Each patient’s story illuminates Tarrant County COVID data, strengthens contact tracing

By Sally Crocker HSC 2020 graduate Julia Aiken was finishing the last semester of her MPH in Public Health Practice when COVID-19 arrived. By May, she had finished her degree and was helping Tarrant County Public Health’s (TCPH) with contact tracing efforts to track and help ...Read more

Sep 28, 2020

HSC Students
TCOM, PA students comply with COVID social distance rules while fine tuning their skills via the HSC Simulation Center

By Diane Smith HSC Fort Worth has taken virtual learning to new levels during COVID-19.  Consider, for example, medical students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine who must master ultrasound technology to better identify the diseases that ail patients.   At TCOM,...Read more

Sep 22, 2020