India, US to fund collaborative grant for glaucoma research

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The National Eye Institute and India’s Department of Biotechnology announced a new collaborative project to identify genetic risk factors and traits related to glaucoma.

Grants from the two agencies stem from the U.S.-India Collaborative Vision Research Program, which is designed to advance knowledge in the biological mechanisms of ocular disease. The combined grants will be more than $1.3 million over 3 years, pending fund availability, according to an NEI press release.

The focus of the research team in India will be clinical evaluation, including collection of samples for genetic testing and examination of risk factors in patients with glaucoma. The Department of Biotechnology announced its grant funding will be provided to the Vision Research Foundation, part of Sankara Nethralaya, a specialty institution in India for ophthalmic care.

Researchers in the U.S. will focus on genetic analyses to identify risk factors for clinical traits associated with glaucoma. The NEI awarded its grant funding to Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

The researchers will also complete a glaucoma phenome-wide association study (PheWAS). A typical genome-wide association study compares the DNA of a group of people with a disease to find genetic associations, according to the release.

“A PheWAS turns it around where the association of one genetic variant with a variety of different clinical traits is evaluated,” Janey Wiggs, MD, PhD, associate director of the Ocular Genomics Institute at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, said in the release.

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