Tags: blindness | cure | ga | macular | degeneration

‘Breakthrough’ Reported in Blindness Research

Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:38 AM

University of Kentucky researchers have identified the key causes of an incurable form of blindness – a discovery they said is a “breakthrough” that could lead to promising new treatments for the condition, which strikes millions of people.
In a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers said they have determined what causes the "dry" form of age-related macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness in seniors – known as geographic atrophy (GA). The untreatable condition causes blindness due to death of retinal cells in the eyes of patients who have the condition.
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Lead researcher Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati said people with GA have a deficiency in a particular enzyme that leads to the accumulation of toxic molecules. That, in turn, leads to changes in the eye that cause retinal cells to die.
Ambati said the research team found that blocking any one of the steps in the multi-stage process can prevent retinal degeneration and preserve patient�s vision. As a result, he said researchers are hopeful the study will help scientists come up with the first-ever treatments to block GA�s development.
Ambati is working with iVeena Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Salt Lake City to develop new GA therapies based on his research
The study was funded, in part, by the National Eye Institute.

© HealthDay

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Researchers have identified the causes of an incurable form of blindness, opening the door to new treatments.
Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:38 AM
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