Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Major breakthrough in eye disease therapy

Date:
April 2, 2014
Source:
Trinity College Dublin
Summary:
A potentially novel form of therapy for age-related macular degeneration that uses a component of our immune system has been discovered by scientists. The scientists found that a component of the immune system, 'IL-18', acts as a guardian of eyesight by suppressing the production of damaging blood vessels behind the retina at the back of the eye. In addition, in pre-clinical models, it was shown that 'IL-18' can be administered in a non-invasive way, which could represent a major improvement on the current therapeutic options that are open to patients.

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have made a major breakthrough with important implications for sufferers of the eye disease Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which can cause central blindness in sufferers.

Related Articles


The scientists found that a component of the immune system, 'IL-18', acts as a guardian of eyesight by suppressing the production of damaging blood vessels behind the retina at the back of the eye. In addition, in pre-clinical models, it was shown that 'IL-18' can be administered in a non-invasive way, which could represent a major improvement on the current therapeutic options that are open to patients.

"We were initially concerned that IL-18 might cause damage to the sensitive cells of the retina, because it is typically linked to inflammation. But surprisingly we found that low doses had no adverse effects on the retina and yet still suppressed abnormal blood vessel growth," said Assistant Professor in Immunology at Trinity, Sarah Doyle, who is the first author on the paper.

AMD is one of the most common forms of blindness in the aging population. The disease involves a loss of central vision, such that people suffering at advanced stages are unable to read, watch TV, drive, or use computers.

There are two forms of AMD: 'dry' and 'wet'. Dry AMD accounts for the majority of cases, but wet AMD causes over 90% of blindness associated with the disease. In wet AMD, blood vessels underneath the retina begin to grow abnormally, which causes almost immediate central blindness. Because central vision accounts for almost all of our daytime visual acuity, wet AMD sufferers experience severe and profound day-to-day challenges.

Treatment options for wet AMD are currently limited to the end stages of the disease. Regular injections of antibodies must be made directly into the eye to mop up a problematic molecule termed 'VEGF'. However, the Trinity scientists found that IL-18 directly inhibits VEGF production, and that it can work as effectively as the current treatment when administered via a non-invasive intravenous injection in pre-clinical settings.

"Our findings have highlighted the power of industry-academic collaborations, the results of which should lead to clinical deployment of IL-18 as a treatment for AMD in the short term," added Research Assistant Professor in Genetics at Trinity, Matthew Campbell.

The research, published online this week in the high-profile international journal, Science Translational Medicine, was supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the US-based charity Brightfocus Foundation, and major pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Vice President of Ophthalmology at GSK, Dr Pete Adamson, said: "A greater understanding of the molecular complexity of diseases such as AMD is critical to the development of new medicines."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. L. Doyle, E. Ozaki, K. Brennan, M. M. Humphries, K. Mulfaul, J. Keaney, P. F. Kenna, A. Maminishkis, A.-S. Kiang, S. P. Saunders, E. Hams, E. C. Lavelle, C. Gardiner, P. G. Fallon, P. Adamson, P. Humphries, M. Campbell. IL-18 Attenuates Experimental Choroidal Neovascularization as a Potential Therapy for Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Science Translational Medicine, 2014; 6 (230): 230ra44 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007616

Cite This Page:

Trinity College Dublin. "Major breakthrough in eye disease therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402144310.htm>.
Trinity College Dublin. (2014, April 2). Major breakthrough in eye disease therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402144310.htm
Trinity College Dublin. "Major breakthrough in eye disease therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402144310.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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