Making Basic Science Studies in Glaucoma More Clinically Relevant

The Need for a Consensus

Abstract

Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive, and debilitating optic neuropathy that causes retinal damage and visual defects. The pathophysiologic mechanisms of glaucoma remain ill-defined, and there is an indisputable need for contributions from basic science researchers in defining pathways for translational research. However, glaucoma researchers today face significant challenges due to the lack of a map of integrated pathways from bench to bedside and the lack of consensus statements to guide in choosing the right research questions, techniques, and model systems. Here, we present the case for the development of such maps and consensus statements, which are critical for faster development of the most efficacious glaucoma therapy. We underscore that interrogating the preclinical path of both successful and unsuccessful clinical programs is essential to defining future research. One aspect of this is evaluation of available preclinical research tools. To begin this process, we highlight the utility of currently available animal models for glaucoma and emphasize that there is a particular need for models of glaucoma with normal intraocular pressure. In addition, we outline a series of discoveries from cell-based, animal, and translational research that begin to reveal a map of glaucoma from cell biology to physiology to disease pathology. Completion of these maps requires input and consensus from the global glaucoma research community. This article sets the stage by outlining various approaches to such a consensus. Together, these efforts will help accelerate basic science research, leading to discoveries with significant clinical impact for people with glaucoma.

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