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Chemists shed light on formation of cataracts

Pioneering research conducted by the University of California-Irvine and German chemists has resulted in the discovery of the molecular mechanism behind what happens in the eye that leads the the formation of cataracts. Details of the research are published in the online journal Structure. The researchers delved into further exploration of the "chaperone" proteins that are one of three kinds of crystallin proteins in the lens that help to maintain transparency. What they discovered was that the eye has a finite number of the chaperone proteins and once those have been used up, weakened proteins combine to create cataracts. Armed with this new information, the chemists will look to creating therapies that will help to prevent these weakened proteins from combining and forming cataracts. This revolutionary discovery will also hopefully lead to the creation of better treatments for cataracts including improved artificial lenses and drug therapies.*

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