Navigation Links
UNC study suggests new approach to common cause of blindness
Date:6/14/2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in collaboration with lead investigators at the University of Kentucky have identified a new target for the diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in older Americans.

In a study published online June 14, 2009 by the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrate that blocking the activity of a specific protein called CCR3 -- can reduce the abnormal blood vessel growth that leads to macular degeneration. Furthermore, targeting this new protein may prove to be safer and more effective than the current treatment for the disease, which is directed at a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor or "VEGF."

The discovery -- made in mouse models and cultured human cells --may also enable physicians to catch the disease in its earliest stages, before blood vessels have fully infiltrated and destroyed the central portion of the eye's retina -- an area known as the macula -- to cause vision loss.

"It would be much better to prevent the disease in the first place," said study co-author and principal investigator of the UNC study site, Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, M.D., a professor of ophthalmology in the UNC School of Medicine. "An exciting implication of this study was that the CCR3 protein could be detected in early abnormal blood vessel growth, giving us the opportunity to prevent structural damage to the retina and preserve vision."

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects 30 to 50 million people globally, and that number is expected to double in the next decade as the baby boomer generation ages. The disease is currently treated with drugs that block the effects of VEGF, a growth factor that promotes the growth of abnormal blood vessels. However, because this factor is also involved in the growth and health of normal blood vessels, concerns have been raised about the safety of its long-term use. To date, however, these anti-VEGF agents have been found to be safe.

Thus, the investigators sought to identify a new target for treatment that is specific to AMD. They detected the presence of the CCR3 protein in eye tissue from humans with AMD but not in that of individuals of similar age who did not have the disease. When they blocked CCR3, either with drugs or through genetic engineering, they saw a decrease in the generation of abnormal blood vessels. Drugs targeting CCR3 were significantly more effective than those targeting VEGF, meaning this could represent a new therapy for the two-thirds of patients that do not respond to current treatment.

The researchers now may look to see if levels of the protein can be detected in the bloodstream in order to identify people who are at risk of developing the disease. They also plan to search for genetic changes in the CCR3 gene in patients with AMD to better understand its causes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Les Lang
llang@unch.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Penn study finds pro-death proteins required to regulate healthy immune function
2. New study shows promise in reducing surgical risks associated with surgical bleeding
3. Study, meta-analysis examine factors associated with death from heatstroke
4. Study suggests loss of 2 types of neurons -- not just 1 -- triggers Parkinsons symptoms
5. Study says COPD testing is not measuring up
6. Preclinical study suggests organ-transplant drug may aid in lupus fight
7. Ability to cope with stress can increase good cholesterol in older white men, study finds
8. High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk, Tulane study says
9. Mailman School of Public Health study examines link between racial discrimination and substance use
10. Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
11. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of ... verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all ... brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils and honing their ... in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic counselor by nominating ... of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. , In April, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) , ... June 24, ... ... their Las Vegas client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and ... The Grove, in Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) sponsors Luke’s Wings ... 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852. ... service members that have been wounded in battle and their families. Venture Construction Group ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" ... The report contains up to date financial data ... analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on the ... analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 If ... Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the future is in ... at www.diabetesscholars.org by the Diabetes Scholars Foundation ... the way of academic and community service excellence. ... since 2012, and continues to advocate for people with ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, France, ... Surgical Procedure Volumes: ... provides surgical procedure volume data in a geographic context. ... analysis of growth drivers and inhibitors, including world population ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: