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Mouse Model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Developed

Researchers say it will allow for testing of new drugs for vision-robbing disease

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The first animal model of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been developed by Cleveland Clinic researchers.

This mouse model will help improve knowledge about the development and progression of the disease and will enable pre-clinical testing of new drugs for AMD, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

The researchers created this animal model of AMD by modifying specific proteins found in mouse blood, forcing the immune system to mount a response that led to the development of the characteristics of AMD.

"More than 8 million Americans are living with vision loss caused by AMD, and 250,000 new cases are diagnosed each year," research team leader Joe G. Hollyfield, of Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute, said in a prepared statement.

"The discovery of the animal model of AMD presents a significant opportunity to efficiently and effectively develop and test novel therapies to both prevent the disease and slow vision loss. Research conducted today may one day help find a cure for this progressive disease," Hollyfield said.

The creation of the mouse AMD model is described in a report in the Jan. 27 online edition of Nature Medicine.

AMD is the most common cause of vision loss among American adults aged 60 and older. The disease gradually destroys sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about age-related macular degeneration.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cleveland Clinic, news release, Jan. 27, 2008

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Mouse Model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Developed
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