Diabetes is a debilitating disease affecting millions of people worldwide, and is one of the leading causes of blindness among Americans over the age of 40. Diabetic eye disease often goes undetected in the early stages, and can lead to vision loss if not treated. We seek to develop novel therapies to prevent the beginning stages of diabetic eye disease, particularly for patients who develop diabetes early in life. With our team of collaborators, we have discovered several natural compounds in plants that show promise in their ability to prevent some of the early steps of diabetic eye disease. As these types of materials are developed from natural constituents of fruits and berries, they may satisfy the need for therapies that are safe and effective for patients who are faced with a life-long need for protection. Our goal is to rapidly translate our discoveries into new therapies that can be delivered to patients worldwide. Our research also addresses therapies to protect against cataract, a condition that has no medical means of prevention but still represents the world’s leading cause of blindness. We seek to identify new ways to prevent biochemical changes in the eye that underlie cataract formation, and to develop new medicines that may postpone or completely eliminate the need for cataract surgery.
See a list of J. Mark Petrash's publications →