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Gene Therapy for Glaucoma Shows Promise in Animal Studies

A potential new gene therapy for glaucoma is reported in Science Advances this week. Glaucoma in its various forms is the second most common cause of blindness, and elevated intraocular pressure — which is regulated by the balance between the secretion of aqueous humor and the resistance to its flow across the conventional outflow pathway — is a major risk factor for the disease. Effective eye drop-based treatments for the condition exist, but patient compliance remains an issue and resistance frequently develops. To address these issues, a team led by scientists from Trinity College and the biotech firm Exhaura engineered an adeno-associated virus to deliver matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) — a member of a family of enzymes that degrade extracellular matrix components — and injected it into the eyes of mice with glaucoma, increasing outflow and decreasing intraocular pressure in the animals. They also show that the treatment is safe and well-tolerated in nonhuman primates and that MMP-3 increases outflow facility in donor human eyes. "Our data suggest that glaucoma can be readily treated with gene therapy-based methods, paving the way for deployment in clinical trials," the researchers write.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.