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Posted: May 17, 2010

Saving contact lens wearers’ sight motivates researcher’s efforts


Acanthamoeba keratitis may be a mouthful, but for contact wearers the cost of the devastating condition can be loss of sight. The condition is almost always associated with contact lens use and is caused by amoebae invading the eye's cornea, resulting in severe inflammation. Identifying causes for the condition and possible new treatments is the focus of research being conducted at the Health Science Center by Hassan Alizadeh, PhD, associate professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy.

Alizadeh researches several factors related to acanthamoeba keratitis - what predisposes the cornea to infection with this microorganism, how the immune system responds to the infection and which tissues of the cornea are involved in the infection process.

"The fundamental premise of our research is that no single therapeutic procedure is likely to be effective in the treatment of ongoing infection," Alizadeh said. "However, we hope a carefully selected and evaluated combination of procedures that collectively or synergistically interfere with each step of the pathogenic cascade targeting pathogenic molecules will lead to the production of an ‘anti-disease' vaccine."

Alizadeh hopes to collaborate with other researchers at the Health Science Center in his work.

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