The research group has identified a compound that could provide therapies for a number of eye diseases, including premature retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy. On the basis of the new study findings, even people with advanced disease progression could possibly experience a change in their fate, the researchers explain.
Based on the findings of a new study involving researchers from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), many forms of vision loss could potentially be treated effectively in the future. The study was published in the English language journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).
A new form of therapy could help treat a number of eye diseases and may even help restore vision in premature babies and adults.
Network of vessels blocks the light in the eye
Can the eyesight be restored?
Various eye diseases occur when blood vessels in the retina get out of control. In these forms of retinopathy, a network of vessels blocks the light that reaches the retina. This process causes vision problems that can lead to complete blindness, experts report.
Retinopathy in premature babies, combined with high oxygen levels in incubators, often resolves naturally over time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In these cases and in adult diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, any visual damage that occurs can be irreversible.
Target for new therapies identified
The researchers tried to find evidence for a possible dilution of the out-of-control tangle of vessels by analyzing another group of vessels that naturally regress and disappear in mice shortly after birth. When examining newborn mice, the researchers then found that the levels of a certain class of cellular proteins decreased when the mice experienced normal blood vessel loss in the eye.
The experts hypothesized that these cellular proteins could be an important switch to eliminate vessels in a model of newborn babies. “This is a new way to approach these diseases. Current methods – invasive surgery or lifelong injections into the eye – only prevent the progression of the disease and often have serious complications,” study author Dr. Courtney Griffin said in a press release.
In the future, the team will further investigate the active ingredient in models of eye diseases in adults. More research is now needed, but this could be a major advance in the treatment of vision loss in people of all ages, the research team hopes. (as)
The active ingredient used for this purpose only affects abnormal blood vessels with slow blood flow. The normal vessels required in a healthy eye were not affected. The results open the door to customized therapies to correct the loss of vision, explain the experts. “We have shown that once these abnormal vessels have formed in the young eye, they are susceptible to treatment,” says Griffin.
The researchers identified an experimental compound that deactivated the proteins. In this way, the switch could be turned on and their hypothesis tested. The researchers planned to trick the blood vessels of diseased mice so that they regress and die naturally – with success.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.