McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Researchers receive $1.3M U.S. grant

Published: November 17, 2015
Judith West-Mays
Judith West-Mays, professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular medicine

Researchers at McMaster University have received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health for an investigation that may help stop glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness and visual disability.

Judith West-Mays and her team are looking into the genes involved in a group of developmental disorders known as anterior segment dysgenesis (ASD), a developmental anomaly of tissue in the front of the eye associated with an increased risk of glaucoma and clouding of the cornea. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of visual disability. There are more than 2.7 million cases in the United States, 400,000 in Canada and 60 million throughout the world, and there are certain developmental ocular disorders in humans that can lead to it.    

"This is important research, as the number of patients with glaucoma is expected to increase as the population ages and life expectancy increases," said West-Mays, a professor of pathology and molecular medicine for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster. "We are excited about our new models of glaucoma that may also be used for testing promising therapeutic agents for this disease.

The four-year research project will involve identifying the genes involved in ASD and creation of animal models of ASD and glaucoma to further understand the pathophysiology of the disease and how it may be cured.

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