Research to Prevent Blindness

Researchers Build An “Aging Clock” To Help Treat Eye Disease

Using a technique they developed for studying human eye fluid, RPB-supported researchers at Stanford Medicine in California and their collaborators found a way to measure ocular aging, opening avenues for treatment of numerous eye diseases.

The scientists looked at nearly 6,000 proteins in eye fluid and found that they can use 26 of them to predict aging. Using artificial intelligence, they developed an eye-aging “clock,” indicating which proteins accelerate aging in various eye diseases—including uveitis, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetic retinopathy—and revealing new potential targets for therapies.

The study was published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell. The researchers found that some cells commonly targeted in treatment are not the ones most involved in disease, encouraging a re-evaluation of therapies.

The researchers also found that some cells showed accelerated aging before symptoms appeared. Treating the molecular pathway early, said Dr. Vinit Mahajan, a Professor of Ophthalmology, and the paper’s senior author, could prevent disease damage before it becomes irreparable. And, targeting both aging and disease cells could make treatment more effective, Mahajan said, because the two appear to act separately but simultaneously to damage the eye.

Mahajan anticipates that researchers will also apply their new technique and aging clock to other organ fluids such as liver bile and joint fluid.

Learn more:

Read Stanford Medicine's press release

Watch a 1-minute video from the Mahajan lab

Related News: Diabetic Retinopathy, Feature Story, For the Media, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Top Story, Uveitis

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