Upcoming Events

December 15, 2021
3:00 p.m., Rm 2-6408, K207 Auditorium @ Med Center, Plus Zoom Capability

CVS Research Talk: Collynn Woeller, Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester
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Development of novel anti-scarring agents to prevent vision loss

Many diseases that cause vision loss and blindness do so because of abnormal wound healing, tissue remodeling and formation of scar tissue. Ocular scarring occurs through formation and activation of cells called myofibroblasts, as well as myofibroblast-mediated deposition of excessive amounts of extracellular matrix. For example, proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), the leading cause of recurrent retinal detachments (RDs), is a blinding disease process characterized by fibrotic membranes that develop on the retinal surface or within the retina in up to 10% of RDs. Currently, there are no pharmacologic therapies that improve visual outcomes or decrease re-detachment rates for PVR patients. Another disorder that can impair vision is thyroid eye disease (TED). In TED, collagen and hyaluronan accumulation, along with myofibroblast activation in the orbit of afflicted individuals, lead to destructive tissue remodeling causing optic nerve compression and proptosis. While a new therapy was recently approved to treat TED, there are a number of limitations including cost, delivery method and relapse that highlight the need for new treatment options. Using a high-throughput screen to identify new anti-scarring agents, we discovered that salinomycin, a polyether ionophore, is a robust inhibitor of TGFbeta signaling and myofibroblast formation. We also found that salinomycin effectively blocks myofibroblast formation and activation in orbital fibroblasts and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Salinomycin also blocked PVR progression, extracellular matrix formation and pro-fibrotic gene expression in a mouse model of PVR. These studies highlight the potential of salinomycin to block ocular scarring and also open the door to additional therapeutic options that may prevent vision loss in ocular disease.

April 6, 2022
3:00 p.m., Rm 2-6408, K207 Auditorium at URMC

CVS Boynton Colloquium: Christine Wildsoet, UC Berkeley, School of Optometry
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Title TBA