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Delivering lens antioxidants: a strategy to develop anti-cataract therapies

53 months
Approved budget:
Professor Paul Donaldson
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Lay summary
The goal of our research is to reduce the incidence of cataract by developing effective strategies to delay its onset, thereby alleviating the need for surgical intervention. Since age-related nuclear (ARN) cataract is associated with oxidative damage, the use of antioxidant supplements has been advocated as a therapeutic approach to slow cataract progression. However, the efficacy of antioxidant supplements is unproven, due to a lack of knowledge on how antioxidants accumulate in the lens nucleus, the region of the lens specifically affected in ARN cataract. To address this, we will study how the levels of the natural lens antioxidant glutathione and nutrients required to maintain it in its reduced state are delivered, accumulated and used in the nucleus of normal and cataractous lenses. This will allow targeted strategies to restore and enhance the natural defence systems of the lens to be developed, thereby affording increased protection against ARN cataract.