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.

Related Articles


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 October 30, 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) — A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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