Though this discovery was originally aimed at the developing world, it might just turn around & George Jetson the hell out of a tricky surgical procedure.
What happens with a cataract is that some of the proteins in the lens go a bit wacky over time.
And these changes make them stop working the way they’re supposed to.
Since the standard fix is a bit iffy to have done in low-tech facilities, the researchers thought, “What if we could take that operation and put it in a bottle?”
And that’s just what they did.
After trying many many ways of getting-to & fixing those mis-folded proteins, they found a sneaky hack. It turns out their ~”melting-point” was different than the good ones; -higher actually, as part of all the mistakes they pick up over time.
So then, those UCSF researchers looked around for things that could bring it back down, ended up with a bunch of naturally-occurring alcohol-compounds & boom, into the eye-drops they go!
Right now it looks like the magic compounds are slowing-down & even Reversing only early-stage cataracts. The later, more-progressed types are still tough to fix.
-But this is just the First Version!
Some time in the future, they might have found out how to get further in to the later-stage stuff to relax & re-form it, too. -Maybe they just need more of the “alcohols” in the drops?
There might even be a day not too far off when people just take these drops starting at a certain age just as a preventative, so they never get cataracts in the first place.
And hopefully one day after that, you might even fix the worst cases with a simple little dropper of Bausch & Lomb Lens-In-A-Bottle down at the CVS!
Check out the futuristic details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Porsche 912, port (left) headlight”, by Bill Abbott
• Source: UCSF
• via: Sci-Am
• More Coverage: ChemistryWorld | Wikipedia-Sterol
• Source Study: ScienceMag-Pharmacological chaperone for α-crystallin partially restores transparency in cataract models