Washington, October 1 : A potential therapy to delay or prevent blindness in patients with diabetic retinopathy may soon be available, thanks to an Indian-origin researcher's new genetic research model that can help study how insulin receptors affect the eye.
Dr. Raju Rajala, a scientist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has revealed that his team is focusing on an insulin receptor in the eye's rods, which are part of the retina.
The researcher says that the rods translate what the eyes see into electric signals to the brain, blindness occurs when the receptors are not working.
He says that the new model can help discern how the receptors work, and how proteins and insulin play a role in their function
"Our hope is to test drug compounds and therapeutic agents to see if they can prolong the life of the receptor cells and either delay or prevent blindness. Therapies could include a pill or gene therapy to activate the malfunctioning receptor," he said.
Dr. Rajala expects to have some form of therapy available within 15 years.
A research article describing his work has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.