Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One-two punch could be key in treating blindness

Date:
April 9, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that using two kinds of therapy in tandem may be a knockout combo against inherited disorders that cause blindness. While their study focused on man's best friend, the treatment could help restore vision in people, too.

András Komáromy and colleagues discovered that a combination therapy restored vision in dogs with an inherited retinal disorder.
Credit: Photo by Tom Genarra

Researchers have discovered that using two kinds of therapy in tandem may be a knockout combo against inherited disorders that cause blindness. While their study focused on man's best friend, the treatment could help restore vision in people, too.

Published in the journal Molecular Therapy, the study builds on earlier work by Michigan State University veterinary ophthalmologist András Komáromy and colleagues. In 2010, they restored day vision in dogs suffering from achromatopsia, an inherited form of total color blindness, by replacing the mutant gene associated with the condition.

While that treatment was effective for most younger dogs, it didn't work for canines older than 1 year. Komáromy began to wonder if the older dogs' cones -- the photoreceptor cells in the retina that process daylight and color -- might be too worn out.

"Gene therapy only works if the nonfunctional cell that is primarily affected by the disease is not too degenerated," he said. "That's how we came up with the idea for this new study. How about if we selectively destroy the light-sensitive part of the cones and let it grow back before performing gene therapy? Then you'd have a younger, less degenerated cell that may be more responsive to therapy."

So, Komáromy and colleagues recruited more dogs with achromatopsia between 1 and 3 years old. To test their theory, they again performed gene therapy but first gave some of the dogs a dose of a protein called CNTF, which the central nervous system produces to keep cells healthy. At a high enough dose, its effect on photoreceptors is a bit like pruning flowers: It partially destroys them, but allows for new growth.

"It was a long shot," said Komáromy, associate professor in MSU's Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.

But it worked.

"We were just amazed at what we found," he said. "All seven dogs that got the combination treatment responded, regardless of age."

While achromatopsia is quite rare, Komáromy said it's a good model disease for other disorders affecting the photoreceptors, conditions that constitute a major cause of incurable blindness in dogs and humans. Those disorders affect individuals of both species in much the same way, so the combination treatment's promise isn't just for Fido.

"Based on our results we are proposing a new concept of retinal therapy," he said. "One treatment option alone might not be enough to reverse vision loss, but a combination therapy can maximize therapeutic success."

The research was funded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida and University of Miami also participated in the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. András M Komáromy, Jessica S Rowlan, Amanda T Parton Corr, Shelby L Reinstein, Sanford L Boye, Ann E Cooper, Amaliris Gonzalez, Britt Levy, Rong Wen, William W Hauswirth, William A Beltran, Gustavo D Aguirre. Transient Photoreceptor Deconstruction by CNTF Enhances rAAV-Mediated Cone Functional Rescue in Late Stage CNGB3-Achromatopsia. Molecular Therapy, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/mt.2013.50

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "One-two punch could be key in treating blindness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409110008.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, April 9). One-two punch could be key in treating blindness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409110008.htm
Michigan State University. "One-two punch could be key in treating blindness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409110008.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins