In previous studies using cell and animal models, supplementation with nicotinamide (a form of vitamin B3) protected the optic nerve and provided protection against damaging metabolic processes. In a prior smaller clinical study, researchers demonstrated that a short course of nicotinamide supplementation was able to restore some visual function in existing glaucoma patients. The results of these previous studies appear promising and have promoted the start of longer-term clinical trials.
In the spring of 2022, a large clinical study encompassing more participants over a longer period will begin evaluating the effectiveness of nicotinamide supplementation and the long-term outcome of such treatment. Some 300 patients are expected to participate in the study, including 60 to 75 patients from St. Erik Eye Hospital. The study, which will continue for several years, is being headed by Umeå University and conducted in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, St. Erik Eye Hospital and a number of ophthalmology clinics in Gothenburg, Malmö, and Tranås.
Today, the only treatment available to glaucoma patients are efforts to lower eye pressure.
Gauti Johannesson, associate professor, consultant and the principal investigator of the study.
Photo: Johan Gunséus
"If our study shows a positive outcome, it may result in a new effective treatment for glaucoma patients – which would be a breakthrough in glaucoma care," says Gauti Jóhannesson, associate professor at Umeå University, consultant at the University Hospital of Umeå and the principal investigator of the study.
The previously completed studies have shown good results, and the next step is to compare outcomes when a larger number of patients participate.
Pete Williams, associate professor and research group leader.
Photo: Johan Gunseus
"We are very pleased to have reached this stage where we will evaluate the effectiveness of nicotinamide supplementation. If the treatment also shows the long-term effects we are hoping for, it will be an extremely important finding for glaucoma patients," says Pete Williams, associate professor and research group leader at Karolinska Institutet and St. Erik Eye Hospital.
About the clinical study
Only patients recently diagnosed with untreated glaucoma can participate in the clinical study. Patients can be referred to St. Erik Eye Hospital by their ophthalmologist or optician from February onwards. Treatment will begin in March 2022.
The study will be headed by Umeå University and conducted in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, St. Erik Eye Hospital and a number of ophthalmology clinics in Malmö, Tranås and Gothenburg.
If you have any questions about participation in the study, please contact Professor Rune Brautaset at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facts about glaucoma
Glaucoma is a complex condition affecting the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
About 100,000 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
About 100,000 people remain undiagnosed.
Elevated eye pressure, age and heredity are the primary risk factors.