My laboratory studies the disease of glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the United States, affecting nearly 3 million people (70 million Worldwide). The primary risk factor for developing glaucoma is ocular hypertension (high intraocular pressure, IOP). IOP is a function of the regulated movement of aqueous humor into and out of the eye. Elevated IOP in glaucoma is a result of disease in the primary efflux route, the conventional outflow pathway, affecting proper homeostatic control of aqueous humor drainage.
Lowering IOP in glaucoma patients, whether or not they have ocular hypertension, is important because large clinical trials involving tens of thousands of patients repeatedly demonstrate that significant, sustained IOP reduction slows or halts vision loss. Unfortunately, current first-line medical treatments do not target the diseased conventional pathway and do not lower IOP sufficiently in most people with glaucoma. Therefore, finding new, more effective ways to medically control IOP by targeting the conventional pathway is a central goal the Stamer Laboratory.
Using molecular, cellular, organ and mouse model systems, my laboratory seeks to identify and validate novel drug targets in the human conventional outflow pathway to facilitate the development of the next generation of treatments for ocular hypertension and glaucoma.