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Scientists investigate use of molecular scaffolding to treat eye disease

The molecule protrudin could be used to help heal and regrow damaged nerve cells in the eye, resulting from conditions such as glaucoma

New research from the University of Cambridge and the University of Melbourne will investigate the role of molecular scaffolding in helping to heal and grow damaged nerve cells within the eye.

The study, which is funded by Fight for Sight, could lead to new treatments for glaucoma and other conditions.

Scientists also hope that the approach could lead to successful eye transplants by helping a transplanted eye to connect to the eye by growing axons through the optic nerve.

They describe the scaffolding molecule, protrudin, as the “strongest promoter of optic nerve regeneration we have yet encountered.”

Professor Keith Martin, from the University of Cambridge, highlighted that around 10–15% of glaucoma patients go blind in one eye during their lifetime.

“Our work aims to develop new strategies to repair the optic nerve and, ultimately, to restore vision in people who are blind due to optic nerve diseases like glaucoma,” he said.

Image credit: Fight for Sight