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Toronto researchers discover novel circulation in human eye, new glaucoma treatment target
Date:10/5/2009

he tissue.

Using molecular tools and three-dimensional reconstruction, the team of researchers identified a rich network of lymphatic channels in the ciliary body of the human eye. These studies were confirmed by electron microscopy.

The discovery of a lymphatic circulation in the eye overthrows the idea that the eye is an immune privileged site due to the lack of lymphatics and has major implications for understanding eye inflammations and eye tumor spread, among other eye disorders.

"This 'uveolymphatic' circulation plays a role in the clearance of fluid from the eye, making it highly relevant to glaucoma. This discovery is exciting because it means we can focus on innovative treatment strategies for patients with glaucoma by specifically targeting this new circulation to lower eye pressure," said Dr. Gupta.

According to the researchers, future studies will be directed at better understanding how to manipulate the lymphatic circulation in the eye. "It's clear that if we want to develop new strategies to prevent blindness, we need to challenge existing beliefs, and hopefully open the door to new treatments for eye disease," said Prof. Ycel, who also serves as Director of the Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory in U of T's Department of Ophthalmology and research Scientist at the Keenan Research Center at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, SMH.

Glaucoma is expected to affect 80 million people worldwide by 2020. Although the disease can affect anybody, those with elevated eye pressure, the elderly, blacks and persons with a family member with glaucoma are at greatest risk. Other risk factors that may be associated with glaucoma include diabetes, high blood pressure and near-sightedness.


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Contact: April Kemick
april.kemick@utoronto.ca
416-978-5949
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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