Can Blocking of microRNA Offer a New Treatment of Macular Degeneration?
June 21, 2011
Recent research done at UT Southwestern Medical Center and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers hope for treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
microRNAs are genetic material that, with other proteins, help to regulate the expression of genes and thereby the way a cell functions. But if there is an imbalance in the retinal cells, certain microRNAs can cause the excessive growth of blood vessels in the retina that is seen in macular degeneration. This can cause a sudden loss of central vision if the vessels burst. The researchers found that if they silenced two specific microRNAs (23 and 27), they could prevent this excessive blood vessel formation in the eye.
Current treatment of these vessels consists of inhibiting a different molecule, called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is done by injecting anti-VEGF drugs into the eye. These drugs have limited effectiveness and side effects. The researchers of this study are looking to test the combination of silencing the microRNAs and angiogenic drugs to see if they would work together synergistically.
For a press release on this work, click here.
For an abstract of the journal article, click here.
Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory
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