Scientists Hope to Conquer Cataract Through Genome Studies

A Chinese scientist has announced in Hangzhou that new ways could be found to treat cataract in the near future.

Gong Xiaohua, a professor from Scripps Research Institute, told an international symposium on genome studies and biotechnology that he and his colleagues have found out how sudden genic changes in the human body can cause cataract, and have made breakthroughs in their search for a gene that can curb such changes.

Gong, a Shanghai Medical Sciences University graduate, left China 11 years ago to pursue a doctor's degree in the United States. The 36-year-old is now chief scientist at a gene research laboratory of Scripps Research Institute.

Cataract is threatening many people across the world, especially the old. Many patients have to undergo surgery lest they would lose sight.

"Our research aims to find an easier, cheaper and equally effective way to treat cataract," said Gong.

Through their model research, Gong's team has found similarities in genic changes in rat and man, and noted that different individuals vary in their resistance to genic changes.

"The human body must contain another gene that can ease the disease," Gong concluded.

He revealed that their research has entered a "final stage", as they have found the locus for such a helpful gene.

Gong's team is also doing researches on glaucoma and retinal diseases.

(People's Daily 08/30/2001)

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