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AMD development could be halted, study concludes.

RESEARCHERS HAVE identified a part of the immune system involved in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which, when controlled, could halt the progression of the condition.

Scientists from Trinity College, Dublin, found that inflammasome is involved in the progression of AMD and, when levels of IL-18 are controlled, the advancement of dry to wet AMD can be prevented.

Published in the journal, Nature Medicine, the study was supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF), the Health Research Board (HRB) and Fighting Blindness Ireland.

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Led by Dr Sarah Doyle and Dr Matthew Campbell, the project used animal and donor human eyes in its tests. Dr Campbell said: "Traditionally, inflammation in the retina, or indeed the eye in general, is not beneficial and is a pathological hallmark of many eye diseases, including AMD. However, we have identified that one inflammatory component, termed IL-18, acts as a so-called anti-angiogenic factor, preventing the progression of wet AMD"

Dr Doyle added: "The progression from dry to wet AMD appears to be medicated by the inflammatory component IL-18, our results directly suggest that controlling or indeed augmenting the levels of IL-18 in the retinas of patients with dry AMD could prevent the development of the wet form of disease, which leads us to an exciting new prospect for a novel therapy for AMD."

The study was carried out in collaboration with Trinity College's Ocular Genetics Unit director, professor Pete Humphries, the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute's professor Luke O'Neill and professor Joe Hollyfield at the Cole Eye Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

Emily McCormick

emilymccormick@optometry.co.uk

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Title Annotation:NEWS; age-related macular degeneration
Author:McCormick, Emily
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 20, 2012
Words:268
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