Boost for glaucoma vitamin B3 research
CERA’s Dr Flora Hui has been awarded Glaucoma Australia’s Quinlivan Research Grant to continue her investigations into the potential of vitamin B3 to prevent nerve cell damage from glaucoma.
CERA’s research into the effectiveness of vitamin B3 in preventing nerve cell damage in glaucoma has received a major funding boost.
Dr Flora Hui, who this year published promising findings into the potential of the supplement to treat glaucoma patients, was named the recipient of Glaucoma Australia’s Quinlivan Research Grant by Governor-General David Hurley on World Sight Day (8 October).
The $200,000 grant will be instrumental in supporting the next phase of Dr Hui’s research along with CERA Managing Director Professor Keith Martin and international collaborators including Professor Jonathan Crowston, from Duke NUS-Medical School, Singapore, Professor Robert Casson, from University of Adelaide, and Dr Pete Williams from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Earlier this year, the team published research which showed ‘significant improvement’ in the visual function of glaucoma patients who received a daily high dose of 3 grams of nicotinamide for 12 weeks in addition to their regular treatment to reduce eye pressure.
The new funding from Glaucoma Australia will support Dr Hui’s investigations over the next two years, and will be instrumental in helping the team’s research move into the next stage.
“This funding will help support a larger, longer term study that will enable us to know conclusively whether nicotinamide delays glaucoma progression more than using eye pressure lowering treatments alone,’’ says Dr Hui.
“It will help us determine whether vitamin B3 should be recommended as a therapy for glaucoma patients an ongoing basis.’’
Vision loss occurs in glaucoma when the retinal ganglion cells of the optic nerve, which help transfer images from the eye to the brain, are damaged.
Traditional treatments involve lowering eye pressure to prevent further damage, but some patients continue to lose their sight – raising hopes that vitamin B3 could provide a new therapy for this group.
Glaucoma Australia President Associate Professor Simon Skalicky says that over the past 10 to 15 years research has shifted from looking at the “why” and “how” of glaucoma, which is still important, towards research that is focused on having a direct impact on patient care.
“There is a lot of interest amongst glaucoma researchers in medicines that might help protect the optic nerve from eye pressure-related glaucoma damage,’’ he says.
“Vitamin B3 is an example of this, and certainly there is much research value in exploring its potential benefits and uses.’’
CERA Managing Director Professor Keith Martin welcomed Glaucoma Australia’s support of the research.
“We are excited that Dr Hui and the team will be able to continue this exciting research, which offers the potential to transform patient treatment and potentially even reverse some of the damage to the retinal ganglion cells caused by glaucoma,’’ he says.
“We know that our early findings have been of great interest to eye care professionals, patients and many of CERA’s supporters and we are grateful for Glaucoma Australia’s support to enable us to continue our research.’’
Read the research paper
You can read the full article: Hui F, Tang J, Williams PA, McGuinness MB, Hadoux X, Casson RJ, Coote M, Trounce IA, Martin KR, van Wijngaarden P, Crowston JG Improvement in Inner
Retinal Function in Glaucoma with Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) Supplementation: A Crossover
Randomised Clinical Trial at Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology DOI
There is currently no recruitment underway for the next stage of study, but if you want to be considered for future studies about glaucoma or be involved in any other research at CERA you can register your details on our Clinical Trials Registry