Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Successful tests of new treatments in mice for eye disease causing irreversible blindness in humans

02.11.2005


A team led by Krzysztof Palczewski, Ph.D., chair of pharmacology at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has taken the first steps in treating an eye disease causing irreversible congenital blindness in millions of people worldwide by successfully testing two new treatments in mice.



Publishing in this month’s open access journal PLoS Medicine, the researchers found that these treatments "provide highly effective and complementary means for restoring retinal function in this animal model of human hereditary blindness."

The disease studied is Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), characterized by severe loss of vision at birth. Its causes are not fully understood. Researchers believe that the disease might be due to abnormal development of photoreceptor cells in the retina, extremely premature degeneration of these cells, or lack of essential metabolic ingredients necessary for vision in the cells. In a subset of these diseases, it is known that the retina stops functioning due to loss of the lecithin retinol acyl-transferase enzyme (LRAT). LRAT is required for regeneration of a pigment necessary for the eye to detect light.


LCA can be caused by mutations in the gene encoding RPE65, a key protein involved in the production and recycling of 11-cis-retinal in the eye. Currently, there is no treatment for LCA, although previous studies in mice have successfully tested the injection of a virus carrying the normal gene for RPE65, and, separately, oral administration of a vitamin A-like compound.

In the current paper, Palczewski (formerly of the University of Washington) examined the effect of combining the two treatments in blind mice that did not have the LRAT enzyme. They report that gene therapy carrying the LRAT gene significantly restored electroretinographic (ERG) responses and pupillary light responses. Pharmacological intervention with orally administered drugs also caused long-lasting restoration of retinal function in LRAT-deficient mice and increased ERG response.

They noted that the oral treatment was easier to administer compared with injecting the gene therapy directly into the eye, but a disadvantage of the oral treatment was a potential for long-term systemic toxicity compared with the gene therapy. However, toxicological data gathered in this and previous studies have suggested no long term ill effects in mice.

It is possible that each treatment might eventually prove to be more suitable for a specific age group of patients, and therefore, combining the therapies might offer more effective treatment for a wider age range of patients, suggest the authors.

The team hopes that if the treatments are used together, treatment with oral retinoids could begin in infancy to avoid early sight loss and the difficulties associated with surgery in very young patients. And when patients are older, long-lasting drug-free treatment could be done by surgically introducing gene therapy. This study marks the first step in finding out whether these treatments will work effectively and safely in humans.

George Stamatis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.case.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

nachricht CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>