Cataract is the major cause of blindness worldwide, and it largely results from age and diabetes. Cataract is also one of the major complications of diabetes mellitus on the eye and up to 20% of all cataract procedures are performed for diabetic patients.
Current standard treatment of cataract is based on surgery (the replacement of the eye lens by a plastic lens). This current surgical treatment (phacoemulsification) is relatively expensive and requires a relatively time-consuming procedure, characterised by a certain risk for adverse effects intra- and postoperatively.
In the present project, the possibilities are explored for treating the lens clouding that finally leads to cataract, based on local enzymatic treatment using recombinant fructosamine-3 kinase by the means of a minimal invasive technique. The unique potential exists to treat this process at an early stage, delaying the need for surgery and possibly avoiding it altogether.
Initial experiments using animal cadaver eyes (horse, pig, sheep) and in vivo treatment of laboratory animals (mice) have shown very promising results.
In this project (based on recombinant methods for producing fructosamine-3-kinase, which we have developed ourselves), the exact molecular mechanisms of the enzymatic treatment will be investigated in detail using mass spectrometry. Also, the possibility of optimising the treatment procedure will be explored.
Preclinical trials will be performed on a sufficient amount of laboratory animals (mice).