Co-researcher Tannin Schmidt PhD, working on a cornea
Photo Credit: University of Calgary

Canadian research developing new treatment for eye problems


Lubricin is a natural lubricant produced by the body to protect tissues that rub against each other. Originally discovered in the 1970’s in the knee joint, it is an extremely thin protein coating, much more akin to a coating of Teflon on a pan, than a thin coat of oil.

Research co-conducted by Tannin Schmidt in the University of Calgary labs has discovered more widespread distribution of lubricin in the body, notably in the eye. The research will lead to new treatment for a number of eye condition © U of Calgary

New research has discovered more widespread production of lubricin than had been realized, and that could lead to new medical products, especially for eye problems.

Dr Tannin Schmidt is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology with a joint-appointment in the Centre for Bio-engineering Research and Education, and an associate director of the Bio-medical Engineering graduate programme at the University of Calgary


In joint research between Dr Schmidt’s lab at the University of Calgary and the Harvard Medical school, it was shown that lubricin is produced in other areas of the body, notably in the eyes.

After obtaining a specially-bred medical mouse with no lubricin, (“lubricin knock-out”) they were able to show that without lubricin, the simple fact of the the eyelid closing repeatedly over the lens of the eye would cause damage to the cornea.

They have also managed, in conjunction with a specialized lab, to develop a commercially viable synthetic version of lubricin, something major drug companies have tried unsuccessfully to do.

This new product would be used to help prevent problems caused by dry-eye disease, wear from contact lenses, and also from refractive surgeryThe research study was published in the April edition of JAMA Ophthalmology. Lead author Dr. David Sullivan of the Schepens Eye Institute in Boston, says the research is also encouraging “for people diagnosed with auto-immune conditions, such as Sjögren’s or Steven-Johnson Syndrome, which can cause similar symptoms to develop in the eye.”

Using sophisticated techniques the researchers also found the presence of lubricin mRNA (the genetic message material necessary to create lubricin) in a number of exocrine and reproductive tissues (cervical/vaginal & uterine), suggesting that lubricin could play a similar role throughout the body.

For his part, Tannin Schmidt says, “This is a new and exciting area of research for my laboratory. I’m excited to see where this discovery leads us in terms of potential new therapies.

He notes that new products such as effective eyedrops and treated contact lenses, may be available to consumers in a year or two.

Categories: Health, Internet, Science and Technology
Tags: , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply to Advanced Vision Care Cancel reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


3 comments on “Canadian research developing new treatment for eye problems
  1. Avatar Sushma Jassal says:

    Enjoyed listening to the interview and am very much looking forward to reading about the success of Lubris & Lubricin in the near future.

    Good Luck,

  2. Interesting developments given that a large number of people who wear contacts also suffer from some sort of dry-eye symptom. Following laser eye surgery there is also a tendency for some patients to experience dry eye as the laser is designed to remove eye tissue that inhibits poor vision. This change to the cornea of the eye results in the eye needing to readjust and so can lead to dry eye. Im sure there are a number of surgeons and ophthalmologists who would love to see the introduction of Lubricin.

  3. Eye problems should be treated immediately to prevent further problems in the end. You can find various solutions on how to get rid of these health concerns on your vision. Eye surgery is probably the most efficient ways to solve this problem.