Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers within sight of a breakthrough on blindness

04.11.2004


The discovery by a Leeds University scientist of a new blindness gene could help to save the sight of thousands of sufferers of retinal disease which affects premature babies as well as people over 60.



By improving our understanding of vascular development, the breakthrough could also shed light on other diseases including tumour formation and arthritis. Carmel Toomes, member of the Leeds vision research group, said the work could lead to early diagnosis of diseases affecting the light-sensitive part of the eye which cause the majority of cases of blindness and visual disability in the UK.

Thanks to her gene discovery, Dr Toomes has begun a Royal Society research fellowship which will enable her to continue the research for at least another five years. “The effects of blindness can be devastating,” she said. “It is very frightening to imagine how your life would change if you were to lose your sight, but for many this is a reality. By the time we retire, one in 50 of us will have a significant defect of vision and after retirement the incidence rises sharply.”


Although retinal disease is mostly untreatable, and sight can rarely be restored once vision loss has occurred, it can sometimes be prevented if a patient is diagnosed early enough. Dr Toomes is using genetics to understand the disease. While there are many different causes for the various types of retinal blindness, the cellular processes involved are often similar.

The group is studying rare inherited forms of retinal disease in order to understand the more common forms of blindness affected by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in diabetic retinopathy and ageing-macular dystrophy – the leading causes of blindness in the western world. The research should lead to the development of new treatments for these conditions.

The discovery of the new blindness gene was reported in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>