Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a type of eye drop which could potentially revolutionise the treatment of one of the leading causes of blindness in the UK. The results of the collaborative research, published in Investigative Opthamology and Visual Science, could spell the end of painful injections directly into the eye to treat the increasingly common eye disorder known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects more than 600,000 people in the UK and predictions suggest this figure could rise sharply in future because of an ageing population. A painless condition which causes people to gradually lose their central vision, usually in both eyes, AMD is currently treated by repeated injections into the eye on a monthly basis over at least three years. This is a problem because, apart from being an unpleasant procedure for patients to undergo, the injections can cause tearing and infections inside the eye and an increased risk of blindness. Now scientists led by biochemist Dr Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham's Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, have invented a method of delivering the injected drug as an eye drop instead, and their laboratory research has obtained the same outcomes as the injected drug. Dr de Cogan said: "The CPP-drug has the potential to have a significant impact on the treatment of AMD by revolutionising drug-delivery options. "Efficacious self-administered drug application by eye drop would lead to a significant reduction in adverse outcomes and health care costs compared with current treatments. "The CPP-plus drug complex also has potential application to other chronic ocular diseases that require drug delivery to the posterior chamber of the eye. Article: Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides, Felicity de Cogan; Lisa J. Hill; Aisling Lynch; Peter J. Morgan-Warren; Judith Lechner; Matthew R. Berwick; Anna F. A. Peacock; Mei Chen; Robert A. H. Scott; Heping Xu; Ann Logan, Investigative Opthamology and Visual Science, doi:10.1167/iovs.16-20072, published May 2017.
Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss among aging men. New research sheds light on hair growth mechanisms that could pave the way for new treatments for male baldness.
Male pattern baldness, also known as male alopecia, is the most widespread form of hair loss in men. Some studies have estimated that between 30 and 50 percent of men are affected by alopecia by the time they reach 50 years of age.
A team of researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) set out to explore hair growth across the skin surface of the entire body. Their findings – which are published in the journal eLife – may help us to understand and treat male baldness, as well as excessive hair growth, differently.
The researchers were jointly led by Maksim Plikus, an assistant professor of developmental and cell biology, and Qing Nie, a professor of mathematics, both of UCI.
Using a combination of mathematical modeling and biological data, the researchers were able to map hair growth patterns across the entire skin.
As the authors explain, mathematical modeling is a valuable tool for understanding how hair follicles grow across the entire body.
“Our new mathematical model predicted details of signaling communications between hairs, otherwise difficult to reveal with standard biological experiments alone,” says Prof. Nie.
Wnt and BMP signaling pathways
For the first time, scientists engineered a mouse model of “baldness” in an attempt to understand how poor hair growth occurs in humans.