Press Releases

Research suggests aspirin helps combat cataracts – University of Reading

Release Date : 04 June 2004

Professor James Crabbe at an AGEnet workshopOngoing research in the School of Animal and Microbial Sciences (AMS) at the University of Reading has helped to clarify the process of cataract, the largest cause of blindness in the world. Professor James Crabbe, who is Head of the School of AMS, presented his findings at a recent workshop held by AGEnet, the University's unique network for bringing together researchers, healthcare professionals, charity workers and members of the public interested in ageing, impairment and disability. Professor Crabbe and his team in AMS have targeted the importance of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – such as aspirin – in helping protect against the development of cataracts. "Aspirin-like analgesics have a protective effect against retinopathy and cataract," says Professor Crabbe. "We have found that aspirin inhibits the protein cross-linking process responsible for cataract. "This accords with epidemiological evidence from people suffering from diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and who take aspirin, which suggests that aspirin could delay the onset of cataract by 43%. Similar studies on paracetamol and ibuprofen suggest that consumption of these analgesics would halve the risk of cataract visually impairing the lens." Professor Crabbe's work has also led to the development of novel methods of experimental design in drug discovery. "We have demonstrated that a Bayesian approach (the use of prior knowledge) can produce major gains in terms of the productivity and accuracy of each experiment. By developing the use of the Bayesian approach, it is possible to reduce the necessary amount of experiments and data points measured, but to increase their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. "This work has clear commercial potential as our novel methods can be directly applied to the study of several important kinetic systems in biology, including enzymes, drug transport, receptor binding, microbial culture and cell transport kinetics." The next AGEnet workshop, 'Research for a New Age: New Dimensions of Ageing' takes place on Thursday 24 June and will explore the research and practice being pursued by ageing and health specialists recently appointed to the University, and their approaches to improving the quality of life of older people. Please contact Verity Smith, the AGEnet co-ordinator by e-mail: End For media enquiries, please contact Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer, on 0118 378 7388 or e-mail:


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