International Journal of Ophthalmic PathologyISSN: 2324-8599

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Editorial, Int J Ophthalmic Pathol Vol: 1 Issue: 1

Integrative Innovation: The Scientist's Challenge

Alireza Ziaei*
Harvard Medical School, USA
Corresponding author : Alireza Ziaei
Harvard Medical School, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: June 27, 2012 Accepted: June 27, 2012 Published: June 29, 2012  doi:10.4172/2324-8599.1000e102
Citation: Alireza Ziaei (2012) Integrative Innovation: The Scientist’s Challenge . Int J Ophthalmic Pathol 1:1. doi:10.4172/2324-8599.1000e102

Abstract

Eye disease is a devastating illness with multiple complications and a steady march to blindness. Normally even with aggressive interventions, eye disease tends to progress. Given the increasing number of patients with eye disease, and according to the mission of VISION 2020 (The Right to Sight), it is imperative to find solutions to prevent the loss of vision and its complications. VISION 2020 program is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). According to the WHO, it has been estimated that the number of blind people will rise to 76 million by 2020. Close to 75% of this blindness is avoidable. Meeting these crucial goals can be only accomplished through research. Early detection and interventions to slow down the progression of eye disease are urgently and critically needed.

Keywords: IOPJ

Eye disease is a devastating illness with multiple complications and a steady march to blindness. Normally even with aggressive interventions, eye disease tends to progress. Given the increasing number of patients with eye disease, and according to the mission of VISION 2020 (The Right to Sight), it is imperative to find solutions to prevent the loss of vision and its complications. VISION 2020 program is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). According to the WHO, it has been estimated that the number of blind people will rise to 76 million by 2020. Close to 75% of this blindness is avoidable. Meeting these crucial goals can be only accomplished through research. Early detection and interventions to slow down the progression of eye disease are urgently and critically needed. A great deal of research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the progression of eye disease and to identify and develop therapies to prevent eye disease from getting worse and better still, to reverse the damage already done. Laboratory research is critical to advance the knowledge of disease and to identify potential therapies as it allows scientists to study disease in simpler models such as at the level of single organs or even at the level of single cells. This kind of research forms the basis to obtain complete understanding of disease processes and to establish the links in the chain of events that occur when the body acquires a disease. It is the initial endeavor in identifying and evaluating the efficacy and safety of drugs and other therapies. In particular, it has been recognized that there has been a very few scientists working on the endothelial layer of the cornea.
Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) is one of the most significant causes of corneal blindness. This specific corneal dystrophy affects approximately 4% of the population in the United States over 40 years of age, and represents the leading cause for corneal transplantation. For more than a century, since FECD was first described in 1910 by Ernst Fuchs as a “dystrophia epithelialis corneae”, many have worked hard to improve the knowledge of the pathology of the disease. Since the pathologic mechanisms still remain largely unknown and no medication is available, currently most patients with FECD ultimately require surgical transplantation when vision is severely impaired. It is crucial to study the molecular bases of corneal endothelial dystrophies and pathogenesis of the disease. In the past decade, important steps have been taken to understand how endothelial degeneration progresses on the molecular level. Studies of affected multigenerational families and sporadic cases identified genes and chromosomal loci, and revealed inheritance patterns. Mutations have been detected in genes that carry important structural and regulatory functions in corneal endothelium. In addition to genetic predisposition, environmental factors like oxidative stress were found to be involved in the pathogenesis of endotheliopathy. But we are only at the very beginning of the process, and it is clear that to reach a true understanding of the pathogenesis and molecular mechanisms of the disease to develop treatment, many more contributions from basic and clinician scientists are needed.
Therefore, creative novel approaches are required to convert the data produced by scientists, to understandable mechanisms needed for breakthroughs and cures. How to best train the next generation to meet this challenge is of vital importance, as we work to improve the effectiveness of the scientific enterprise and expand its role in the world.

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