Mehdi Ghaffari Sharaf and Larry Unsworth
University of Alberta, Canada
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Chem Eng Process Technol
Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) (pseudoexfoliation syndrome) is an age-related disease, characterized by the production of a fibrillar extracellular material that accumulates on many ocular tissues and dramatically affects ocular homeostasis. Despite some success in elucidating pathomechanisms, curative pharmacotherapy for this disease has not been achieved to date. The ability to treat this disease necessitates the ability to target the fibrillar structures related to the exfoliation within the in vivo context. The scope of this research is to engineer molecules that can both target and treat the aggregation of proteins within the anterior segment of the eye; for within this region, the deposition of exfoliation materials leads directly to impaired vision. An ex vivo protocol has been developed for identification of exfoliation material-targeting molecules. Specific binding of targeting molecules was evaluated using fluorescence microscopy. Suggested therapeutic strategy rests on the thought of conjugation of targeting biomolecules with nanoparticles. Alkyne-modified targeting biomolecules were conjugated to the magnetic nanoparticles to evaluate the effect of engineered biomolecules on the exfoliation material. Bio-conjugation was evaluated through Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Subsequent pharmacotherapies will be dependent on the ability to preferentially target these fibrillar structures and that this study will be the precursor to further systematic studies on developing strategies for this express purpose.
Mehdi Ghaffari Sharaf is a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta. He has masters in biophysics and has his experience on eye disease related proteomic studies, nanotechnology-based diagnosis and peptide-based treatment options for cataract and exfoliation glaucoma. His main research focus is on an identification of targeting peptides for fibrillar aggregates associated with exfoliation syndrome.