Personalized Medicine in Ocular Fibrosis: Myth or Future Biomarkers.

Significance: Fibrosis-related events play a part in the pathogenesis or failure of treatment of virtually all the blinding diseases around the world, and also account for over 40% of all deaths. It is well established that the eye and other tissues of some group of patients, for example Afro-Caribbean people, scar worse than others. However, there is a current lack of reliable biomarkers to stratify the risk of scarring and postsurgical fibrosis in the eye. Recent Advances: Recent studies using genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, clinical phenotyping, and high-resolution in vivo imaging techniques have revealed potential novel biomarkers to identify and stratify patients at risk of scarring in different fibrotic eye diseases. Critical Issues: Most of the studies, to date, have been done in animals or small cohorts of patients and future research is needed to validate these results in large longitudinal human studies. Detailed clinical phenotyping and effective biobanking of patient tissues will also be critical for future biomarker research in ocular fibrosis. Future Directions: The ability to predict the risk of scarring and to tailor the antifibrotic treatment regimen to each individual patient will be an extremely useful tool clinically to prevent undertreating, or exposing patients to unnecessary treatments with potential side effects. An exciting future prospect will be to use new advances in genotyping, namely next-generation whole genome sequencing like RNA-Seq, to develop a customized gene chip in ocular fibrosis. Successful translation of future biomarkers to benefit patient care will also ultimately require a strong collaboration between academics, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies.

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