Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Injection prevents blinding blood vessel growth in mice

18.06.2003


Researchers at Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have identified an experimental medicine that stops the blinding blood vessel growth associated with diabetic eye diseases and possibly macular degeneration in laboratory mice.



By injecting a fused protein called VEGF-TRAP (R1R2) into the eyes or bloodstreams of mice, scientists halted new blood vessel growth in the rodents’ eyes and stopped existing blood vessels from leaking. Study results were published recently in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

VEGF-TRAP was designed to antagonize vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance naturally produced in the body that promotes blood vessel formation. Released by the retina (light-sensitive tissue in back of the eye) when normal blood vessels are damaged by disease, VEGF turns on its receptor, igniting a chain reaction that culminates in new blood vessel growth. However, the backup blood vessels are faulty; they leak, bleed and encourage scar tissue that detaches the retina, resulting in severe loss of vision. Such growth is the hallmark of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness among young people in developed countries. It’s also believed that VEGF contributes to abnormal blood vessel growth from the choroid layer of the eye into the retina, similar to what occurs during the wet or neovascular form of age-related macular degeneration.


VEGF-TRAP contains a portion of two receptors for VEGF, which, hooked together, form a sponge that soaks up VEGF before it causes additional damage. Scientists tested VEGF-TRAP in two groups of laboratory mice. In the first group, which had a rupture of Bruch’s membrane (the layer between the retina and the choroid), they injected VEGF-TRAP directly into the rodents’ eyes. In a second group of mice genetically engineered to express VEGF in the retina, they gave the mice injections of VEGF-TRAP under the skin.

Mice treated with either system-wide or local injections of VEGF-TRAP had significantly less new blood vessel growth. Also, VEGF-TRAP blocked leaking of blood vessels usually caused by VEGF, the major problem in patients with macular edema or swelling. This indicates that unlike some large molecules now being tested in patients, VEGF-TRAP does not have to be injected directly into the eye. Injections can be given under the skin, and VEGF-TRAP can, through circulation, exert a strong therapeutic effect in the eye against abnormal blood vessel formation. No side effects were identified.

Peter A. Campochiaro, M.D., senior study author and professor of ophthalmology and neuroscience, says if clinical studies demonstrate similar properties, he hopes that eventually patients could self-administer injections at home similar to insulin shots taken by diabetics. Unlike other treatments for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, which require treatment of one eye at a time, the shot could take care of both eyes at once.

"Our data suggest that VEGF-TRAP deserves consideration as a potential treatment for two complications of diabetic retinopathy -- new blood vessel growth and macular edema," Campochiaro says. "It had long-lasting effects and did not cause complications."

Circulating levels of VEGF-TRAP or other anti-VEGF medications could have many additional health benefits, Campochiaro says, as abnormal blood vessel growth has been implicated in tumor growth, hardening of the arteries and arthritis. A clinical trial sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is being planned to assess the medication’s effects in people with diabetic retinopathy and macular edema, and in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.

The study was supported by grants from the Public Health Service, the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Research to Prevent Blindness and Dr. and Mrs. William Lake. Coauthors were Yumiko Saishin, Kyoichi Takahashi and Raquel Lima E. Silva of Hopkins, and Donna Hylton, John S. Rudge and Stanley J. Wiegand of Regeneron, Tarrytown, N.Y.


###
Saishin, Yoshitsugu, et al, "VEGF-TRAP Suppresses Choroidal Neovascularization and VEGF-Induced Breakdown of the Blood-Retinal Barrier," Journal of Cellular Physiology, May 2003, Vol. 195, pages 241-248.

Karen Blum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wilmer.jhu.edu
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/jpages/0021-9541
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Vanishing capillaries
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>