Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New gene linked to macular degeneration risk

23.10.2006
May provide key to treatment, prevention

Researchers at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah have identified a gene called HTRA1 that contributes to a major risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in the developed world. The discovery of this gene allows anyone to take a simple blood test to find out if they are up to 700% more likely to develop AMD than the average person. This is particularly important for individuals who have a family history of blinding eye conditions.

This test, which is strongly predictive of AMD, will allow people with high risk for AMD to adapt diet and lifestyle changes to lower their risk or delay the onset of the disease. Perhaps more significantly, because this research has identified an entire new pathway and drug target for AMD, this discovery will very likely lead to new and effective treatments for the disease.

Lead by Kang Zhang M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Division of Ophthalmic Genetics at the Moran Eye Center and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Utah, the study will be published online October 19 in the journal Science. Dr. Zhang explains the significance of the discovery: "Several previous studies have implicated a major gene at chromosome 10q26 that affects the risk of AMD, but until this study the precise gene has not been identified."

... more about:
»AMD »Degeneration »Macular

AMD is a degenerative disorder affecting a portion of the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for clear, central vision. Individuals with AMD have difficulty with activities like reading, watching television, and seeing faces of people directly across the table. The disease often leads to legal blindness in patients older than 60 years of age.

How did the researchers discover that this gene is involved in AMD? In this study the researchers genotyped 581 people with AMD and 309 without AMD in a Utah population. Their studies demonstrate that if a person has a mutant copy of the HTRA1 gene, they have a significantly increased risk of developing age related macular degeneration during their lifetime.

"If anyone in your family has a history of macular degeneration, this test would be advised," says Dr. Zhang. "The addition of this new piece to the AMD puzzle suggests that this gene plays a critical role in the formation of tiny protein and fat-containing debris called soft confluent drusen, a precursor of AMD, and promotes abnormal growth of blood vessels typical of the wet form of AMD. The gene is also a critical genetic clue that will allow us to move forward with developing treatments and preventive strategies for patients with AMD. With our massive population swing toward the at-risk age (60+) for AMD, finding treatments and cures is vital."

Steve Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu

Further reports about: AMD Degeneration Macular

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>