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.

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 August 28, 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 August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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