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Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Date:1/8/2009

will definitely lead to an investigation of this pathway for possible therapeutic targets," he said. "But the problem is that they have identified a protein involved with very basic functions -- including muscle development and bone growth -- so it's very difficult to predict if what they did in mice can be done in humans at all and, even if it can, if it will work in the same way."

Cykiert agreed.

"Of course, it's a mouse study," he acknowledged. "So you certainly don't know if what they've found will be reproduced in patients. And in any case, it would take 10 years to develop any drugs from this that might benefit people. So, yes, it's just a first step."

More information

For more on the causes of blindness, visit the World Health Organization.



SOURCES: Bo Chen, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Robert Cykiert, M.D., ophthalmologist and clinical associate professor, ophthalmology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; Rando Allikmets, Ph.D., associate professor, ophthalmology, pathology and cell biology, Columbia University, New York City; Jan. 9, 2009, Science


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