Posted by Minnie Mahendru on October 28, 2013

Human eye treatment may witness a change! Researchers admit to following a novel way to treat human eye disease and admit that the approach has shown a lot of promise in the pre-clinical studies.

Cure for blindness

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California, Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have now given a hope to people and say that the research findings may help avert blindness.

There are various reasons for blindness and these include macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
According to the research team, these problems often lead to neovascularization or an abnormal growth of the vessels carrying blood to the retina. The thin-layered soft tissue made up of the light sensing cells and the blood vessels placed at the back of the eye is called the retina.

The research study

Data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) confirm that in the age group of 18 years and above, nearly 5.3 million people all over the world suffer from diabetic retinopathy, and in the age group of more than 50 years almost 1.6 million Americans are plagued by macular degeneration, thus there is a severe need for these eye disease treatment .

The experiments and pre-clinical studies that were done in The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have given us a reason to hope.

During the study the researchers focused at monitoring the actions of tiny “junk” RNA pieces called the micro RNA’s. The experts treated mice with those short-sized RNA strands that are capable of inhibiting and targeting micro RNA’s .

To everyone's surprise these micro RNA were found capable of fine-tuning the gene activation and their expression and hinted at the ability to stop the abnormal development of the blood vessels. This blood vessel proliferation can aggravate loss of vision. The abnormal growth of these blood vessels showed changes with the micro RNA treatment.

Study implications

TSRI Prof. Martin Friedlander, who was senior author of the study, who gave his idea about the treatment, said, “We believe that targeting and inhibiting the action of micro RNAs involved could represent a novel and effective way to treat a broad range of neovascular eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and macular telangiectasia. We are excited about this approach to halting abnormal blood vessel growth without inducing off-target side effects.”

The research has touched the cover study of November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.This has been published for the first time and is the result of a 5 year research that was also awarded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health encapsulating a grant of almost $10.2 million grant. Now all the researchers are gearing up for clinical trials with a partner from the pharmaceutical industry.

The work is the first published result of a five-year, $10.2 million grant awarded last year by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The grant aims to harness the potential of microRNAs to stop abnormal blood vessel sprouting in the back of the eye and prevent blindness.

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