New drug may harbour hope for age-related macular degeneration cure

November 30th, 2007 - 2:53 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 30 (ANI): Researchers have found that the experimental drug, endostatin, may be the cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Researchers at Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) conducted a study on mice and found that giving endostatin to the rodents significantly reduced or eliminated abnormal blood vessel growth within the eye, which is ultimately why the disease causes blindness.

Our study provides intriguing findings that may lead to a better treatment of age-related macular degeneration but clinical studies in patients with age-related macular degeneration are still necessary, said Alexander Marneros, the first author of the report.

In the study, the research team described testing the effects of endostatin on mice lacking this naturally occurring substance. It was that mice without endostatin were about three times more likely to develop advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than normal mice.

Then the researchers administered endostatin to both sets of mice. The test showed, in the mice lacking endostatin, the numbers of abnormal blood vessels that cause AMD were reduced to normal levels. In control mice with normal levels of endostatin, the numbers of abnormal blood vessels were practically undetectable.

With Baby Boomers reaching advanced ages, new treatments are desperately needed to keep age-related macular degeneration from becoming a national epidemic. This research provides hope for those at risk for blindness, and it gives everyone another glimpse of how investments in molecular biology will ultimately pay off in terms of new treatments and cures, said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.

AMD is a progressive disease that affects the part of the eye that allows people to see fine details. The disease gradually destroys sharp, central vision, and in advanced stages ultimately leads to total blindness. Abnormal blood vessel growth, also known as angiogenesis, is a hallmark of advanced AMD. These faulty blood vessels leak fluids and blood, causing catastrophic vision loss.
The study is published in the December 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal. (ANI)

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