Role of a Protein Kinase in Retinal Ganglion Cell Degeneration in Glaucoma

Donald Zack, MD, PhD Wilmer Eye Institute


The research proposed in this application will directly determine the potential value of a new protein target in the treatment of vision loss in glaucoma. In addition, Drs. Yang, Zack, and colleagues will evaluate a drug candidate that can block this target for its potential to preserve vision in a rodent model of glaucoma.

The research grant was originally awarded to Zhiyong Yang, M.D., Ph.D. and transferred to Dr. Zack in August of 2013 when Dr. Yang left Johns Hopkins.

Project Details

Dr. Zack and colleagues will use a mouse model of glaucoma to evaluate whether a protein is important in the death of retinal ganglion cells and whether the cells can still relay visual information to the brain. Moreover, these researchers will test whether a compound specifically blocking the protein can increase retinal ganglion cell survival in an animal model of glaucoma. The protein was identified by previous studies by this same research group, but its potential function in glaucoma was not assessed. The completion of this study may help to identify a new drug candidate for treatment of glaucoma and may determine how this protein plays a role in glaucoma.