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Subspecialties Retina, Basic & Translational Research, Diabetes, Glaucoma

Saving Axons and Somas

A recent study by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA, looked at retinal ganglion cells degeneration caused by retinal disorder or injury, with a hope of finding treatments capable of preventing vision loss from optic nerve damage, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma (1). Scientists are hoping to use a key enzyme, called CaMKII – which has, for the first time, been shown to regulate the survival of retinal ganglion cells in the retina, whether normal or diseased – as a target for gene therapy aimed at preserving the axons and somas in retinal ganglion cells. So far, gene therapy has been used in animal models, where a more active type of CaMKII was introduced into the original retinal ganglion cells to boost their activity, regulating the cells’ survival across many different pathologies. 

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  1. Z Guo et al., Cell, 184, 4299 (2021). PMID: 34297923.
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