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Dr. Martin Wax was a featured speaker at the Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum in San Francisco. In this interview, Dr. Wax explains the new biomarker initiative that Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding.
Martin B. Wax, MD: The Glaucoma Research organization felt that after ten years of a successful effort, which was really designed to understand the cell death that occurs in glaucoma in a more meaningful way than it has been understood previously, it was time for a new question to be answered, and a new team to answer the question.
The charge is to develop a new, specific and sensitive biomarker in order to diagnose and manage the disease more effectively than those tools that doctors presently have. The biomarker hopefully will be one which indicates the metabolic state of the tissue - whether or not the tissue is ill, or it is sick and dying as opposed to stable. And this is very different than the sort of structural endpoints or late visual field functional endpoints that we use now.
Oftentimes, a physician will have a patient with glaucoma and not really know if the retina is healthy at a certain level of, say, intraocular pressure, and therefore the question of what to do and how to intervene most effectively is not really certain.
The tools that we normally have are good tools, but we think that there are better tools in order to determine whether or not the tissue in that patient’s eye is stable or sick. And if we can get a better understanding of that earlier in the disease process, hopefully that will lead to earlier treatment and better prognosis for the overall condition of the patient.
Martin B. Wax, MD is Chair of the Catalyst for a Cure Scientific Advisory Board, Glaucoma Research Foundation, San Francisco, California. Dr. Wax is Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development for PanOptica, Inc. in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.
Last reviewed on September 14, 2015