A potential ‘game changer’ for eye disease
By Jan Jarvis
A novel pharmacological intervention to control retinal ganglion cell death caused by glaucoma is in preclinical development, said Katalin Prokai-Tatrai, PhD, Associate Professor in the Center for Neuroscience Discovery and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UNT System College of Pharmacy.
“We believe that this novel therapeutic intervention will be effective for other blinding eye diseases associated with neurodegeneration, such as age-related macular degeneration,” said Dr. Prokai-Tatrai. “We are very hopeful we will generate data that shows we can prevent and stop the damage that leads to blindness.
“If it works, it will be a game-changer in terms of how neurodegenerative eye diseases are treated.”
Initially the study will target the effectiveness of the drug for glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness. The study will then be expanded to treat other neurodegenerative diseases impacting the brain.
“The beauty of our drug is that it remains inactive until it reaches the retina when applied in eye drops,” Dr. Prokai –Tatrai said.
Scientists know that glaucoma is caused by elevated pressure, but the mechanism behind it is not fully clear. Several possibilities are under investigation. Dr. Prokai-Tatrai said her translational research focuses on neuroprotection, not the mechanism that causes the elevated pressure.
“Our goal is to prevent neuron death using the eye drops, because once those neurons die they are gone forever,” she said. “Our preliminary data is unprecedented and very promising in terms of preserving visual acuity.
“This gives us hope, that if the approach is successful, we can develop a complementary therapy used together with conventional medications for those with glaucoma.”
The multidisciplinary research involves medicinal chemistry-driven drug discovery and delivery, retina proteomics and ophthalmology and is in collaboration with other researchers at UNTHSC and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
By Jan Jarvis The first study of a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease within a primary care setting soon will be conducted at UNT Health Science Center. The simple test could be a game-changer in the diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s. If successful, it would be possible to ide...Read more
Jul 12, 2018
By Jeff Carlton Charles Taylor, PharmD, who has presided over a number of critical academic milestones as Dean of the UNT System College of Pharmacy, will become Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at UNT Health Science Center. Dr. Taylor said he was “excited, honore...Read more
Jul 11, 2018
The UNT Health Science Center, all clinics staffed by UNT Health physicians, and the Fitness Center will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, for the Independence Day holiday. The Lewis Library will be open, with abbreviated hours on July 3 and 4. Have a safe and healthy Independence Day!...Read more
Jul 3, 2018
By Alex Branch John Mills, DO, has led by example all his life. As a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, he flew reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines, accumulating 832 combat hours. As a physician, he practiced medicine in West Texas because he saw the scarce medic...Read more
Jul 2, 2018