CLINCIAL Seminar: The Eye as a Window to the Brain
There is increasing evidence that the retina is affected in neurodegenerative diseases, and with this comes the recognition that the eye may be utilized as a window on to the brain.
The DARC Technology (Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells) is a novel technique that utilizes the unique optical properties of the eye to allow direct visualization of nerve cells dying through the dynamic process of apoptosis, identified by fluorescent labeled annexin. Initially it is being assessed as an early diagnostic test for glaucoma, but it has potential applications to all retinal neurodegenerative processes, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Changes detectable in the retina may provide a powerful screening tool for neurodegeneration. Evidence to date, suggests that retinal changes, including those measured by DARC, may reflect early changes of activity in the brain.
The search for successful neuroprotective strategies is hampered by the costs of long clinical trials with expensive and invasive end points. Potentially, clinical trials of neuroprotective drugs would be significantly shortened by using endpoints or surrogates acquired through non-invasive, retinal imaging technologies. In addition to making them less high-risk, these technologies such as DARC could be more economical at both preclinical and clinical stages, with great commercial impact in the pharmaceutical and technological sectors.
Speaker: Professor M Francesca Cordeiro
UCL Professor of Glaucoma & Retinal Neurodegeneration Studies
Theme Leader of Ophthalmology for the CDT
When: Tuesday, 13 October 2015 from 18:00 to 19:30
Where: Roberts G08 Sir David Davies LT, University College London