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 forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>