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Mouse studies advance treatment for common eye diseases
Date:9/3/2014

Working with mice, a multicenter team of researchers has found a new way to reduce the abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage in the eye that accompany some eye diseases. The finding could lead to the development of new drugs for wet macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema.

The team reports their findings in the Sept. 2 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The current standard of clinical care for wet macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema is repeated injections into the eye of antibodies against a protein called VEGF. Each injection costs thousands of dollars. This study revealed a way to indirectly mitigate the bad effects of VEGF by activating a biochemical chain of events, or pathway, that suppresses the protein.

This indirect way of reducing VEGF's effects is not as dangerous as directly blocking the protein. Antibodies that block VEGF must be injected into the eye to minimize side effects to the rest of the body, such as stroke. But a drug with the indirect action identified in this study could potentially be injected under the skin with relative safety, the researchers say. Patients could thus give themselves the drug, potentially reducing the need for frequent clinic visits and injections in the eye. The study also indicates that people with particularly severe disease may have a much better outcome if the current eye injections are combined with type of skin injections reported on in this study, the researchers say.

"We've known for several years that activating the Tie2 pathway that indirectly suppresses the effects of VEGF had great potential, and the new approach we tested in this study provides a great way to take advantage of that," says Peter Campochiaro, M.D., the George S. and Dolores D. Eccles Professor of Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a faculty member at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. "This new agent not only makes bl
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Contact: Taylor Graham
tgraha10@jhmi.edu
443-287-8560
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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