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ECONOMICAL NONSURGICAL PREVENTION OF CATARACT

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

A team of scientists has developed nanorods from the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Aspirin, a popular medication used to reduce pain, fever, or inflammation and found it to be an effective non–invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.

Details

  • They have used the anti-aggregation ability of self-build aspirin nanorods as an effective non –invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.
  • Aspirin nanorods prevent the aggregation of crystallin protein and various peptides derived from its fragmentation, which play a crucial role in cataract formation.
  • As with aging and under various conditions, the lens protein crystallin aggregates to form opaque structures in the eye lens, which impairs vision and cause cataract.
  • The aspirin nanorods are produced using the process of molecular self-assembly, which is a low cost and high –yield technique to generate the aspirin nanorods as compared to the high cost and laborious physical methods generally used for the synthesis of nanoparticles.
  • This easy to use and low-cost alternative nonsurgical treatment method will benefit patients in developing countries who cannot access expensive cataract treatments and surgeries.

Cataract

  • Cataract a major form of blindness that occurs when the structure of crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates, causing damaged or disorganised proteins to aggregate and form a milky blue or brown layer, which ultimately affects lens transparency.
  • Cataracts are most commonly due to aging but may also occur due to trauma or radiation exposure, be present from birth, or occur following eye surgery for other problems.
  • Risk factors include diabetes, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.
  • Thus, prevention of the formation of these disorganised protein aggregates as well as their destruction in the early stage of disease progression is a major treatment strategy for cataracts, and materials that can carry out this task could make cataract prevention affordable and accessible.
February 2023
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