Vision Research Center is working on novel glaucoma treatment
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the Vision Research Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine a $1.94 million grant to develop a novel approach for treating patients suffering end-stage glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of those know they have it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Karl Kador, Ph.D., principal investigator on the five-year grant, joined the School of Medicine in 2017. He is an assistant professor of ophthalmology and biomedical sciences.
“Dr. Kador’s program, recognized by this highly competitive NIH support, brings the promise for groundbreaking and highly impactful research to Kansas City,” said Peter Koulen, Ph.D., Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research at UMKC and co-director of the Vision Research Center. “But also, and more importantly, it brings renewed hope for our patients and the communities we serve.”
Kador’s research focuses on injuries and diseases of the optic nerve that lead to the death of retinal ganglion cells, which connect the retina to the brain. He is using tissue engineering to develop methods of transplanting new cells to replace those dead cells. The aim is to restore vision to patients suffering end-stage glaucoma and other eye disorders.
Nelson Sabates, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and founder of the Vision Research Center, said there is an urgent need for enhanced research such as Kador’s to battle the adverse effects of glaucoma and similar eye diseases.
“A significant number of people suffer from glaucoma and other debilitating eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy,” Sabates said. “Dr. Kador and his efforts in tissue engineering are another example of the novel work taking place at the Vision Research Center that will benefit individuals in our community and worldwide.”
The research is being funded by NIH’s National Eye Institute.