Researchers at Schepens Eye Research Institute have determined that there is an increased possibility that a drug can be used to prevent or treat “dry eye.” Pablo Argueso, Ph.D. is studying dry eye disease, a debilitating disease of the cornea (the clear window of the eye) and conjunctiva (the white part of the eye that surrounds the cornea).
Dry eye disease affects more than four million Americans. Dr. Argueso discovered that several proteins–called Notch proteins–are important in keeping the cells of the conjunctiva from over growing or from dying. Notch proteins are important in many diseases so companies are developing molecules that can alter their activity.
Such a drug could be used in the eye to stimulate Notch signaling and keep the conjunctiva healthy and prevent or treat dry eye.