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 Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>