SeniorJournal.com - Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE • Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid • Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement • Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

[NavBar.htm]

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source - SeniorJournal.com

• Go to more on Health & Medicine or More Senior News from SeniorJournal.com on the Front Page

   

E-mail this page to a friend!

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment with Gene Therapy Shows Promise

AMD results in a loss of sharp, central vision; number one cause of visual impairment among Americans age 60 and older

April 29, 2011 — A gene therapy approach using a protein called CD59, or protection, shows promise in slowing the signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a new study from Tufts University School of Medicine.

Led by senior author Rajendra Kumar-Singh, PhD, the researchers, using mice, demonstrated for the first time that CD59 delivered by a gene therapy approach significantly reduced the uncontrolled blood vessel growth and cell death typical of AMD. AMD is the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.

Activation of the complement system, a part of the immune system, is responsible for slowly killing cells in the back of the eye, leading to AMD. Activation of this system leads to the generation of pores or holes known as 'membrane attack complex' or MAC in cell membranes. CD59 is known to block the formation of MAC.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Major Cause of Blindness in Senior Citizens, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Appears in Decline

U.S. study says AMD in those over 40 drops to 6.5% from 9.4% in 1994 - watch videos

Jan. 10, 2011


Cataract Surgery Does Not Appear to Make Age-Related Macular Degeneration Worse

Editorial says more research is needed; patients should be briefed on all study findings - Nov. 9, 2009


Age-Related Macular Degeneration Halted by Blocking Protein to Stop Blood Vessel Growth

Protein CCR3 a new target for diagnosis and treatment of AMD, the most common cause of blindness in senior citizens.

June 15, 2009


Ten Years of Data on Studies of Age-Related Eye Disease Now Available to Researchers

Looked at progression of age-related macular degeneration and age-related cataract in 4,757 older adults - Nov. 11, 2008


Too Much Sunlight, Too Few Antioxidants Places Older Adults at Risk for Eye Disease

Second study finds older diabetes patients more likely to have eye disease than those without the disease - Oct. 13, 2008


Rehab Program Improves Visual Function for Low-Vision Elderly with Macular Disease

Low-vision rehabilitation aims to restore functional ability, such as reading - May 13, 2008


Robo4 Stops Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy in Mice

‘This is a major breakthrough in an area where the advances have been minimal’ - March 17, 2008


Canadians Claim Major Discovery in Fight Against Dry Form of AMD

Age-related macular degeneration discovery is new hope to fight leading cause of blindness in senior citizens - Feb. 20, 2008


Blinding Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progress Linked to Common Genetic Variants

Obesity and smoking found to greatly increase the risk - April 24, 2007


More Proof that Smoking Increases Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Blindness for Senior Citizens

Current smokers 4 times more likely to develop AMD; past smokers 3 times as likely to have advanced form of the disease - Aug. 13, 2007


Senior Citizens Show No Eye Disease Concern Despite Dramatic Increase

American Academy of Ophthalmology opens EyeSmart education effort  - Aug. 1, 2007


Are You Dying of Poor Vision? Older People with Cataracts or AMD at Higher Risk of Death

Unclear why there’s link between visual problems and death, maybe something not measured in this study  - July 9, 2007


Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Increases with Interaction of Genetics and Lifestyle

Mutant of CFH gene plus smoking increased risk 8.69 times - Jan. 9, 2007


Drug Treatment Slows Macular Vision Loss in Diabetics

Inspired by ranibuzumab (Lucentis) slowing vision loss in people with macular degeneration - Dec. 15, 2006


Gene Linked to Aggressive 'Wet' Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Patients with HTRA1 SNP 10 times more likely to have wet AMD  - Nov. 22, 2006


Drug Treatment Slows Macular Vision Loss in Diabetics

Inspired by ranibuzumab (Lucentis) slowing vision loss in people with macular degeneration -Dec. 15, 2006


Top 10 Stories of 2006 by Harvard Health Letter Picks Key Ones for Senior Citizens

Lucentis for macular degeneration, Zostavax for shingles make list - Dec. 4, 2006


 
 

Read the latest news
> Health & Medicine
>
Today's Headlines

 

"CD59 is unstable and hence previous studies using CD59 have had limited success. The gene therapy approach that we developed continuously produces CD59 in the eye and overcomes these barriers, giving us renewed hope that it can be used to fight the progression of AMD and potentially other diseases," said Kumar-Singh.

Kumar-Singh is associate professor in the department of ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and member of the genetics; neuroscience; and cell, molecular, and developmental biology program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

Kumar-Singh and colleagues delivered CD59 to the eye using a deactivated virus similar to one previously shown to be safe in humans. Using an established mouse model of age-related macular degeneration, they found that eyes treated with CD59 had 62 percent less uncontrolled blood vessel growth and 52 percent less MAC than controls.

"Treatment was effective when administered at a very specific location beneath the retina, but importantly, also when it was administered to the center of the eye. This finding is especially encouraging because it would allow for a safer and more convenient route of administration of treatment," said co-first author Siobhan Cashman, PhD, assistant professor in the department of ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of Kumar-Singh's lab.

The current standard treatment for some forms of AMD requires an injection directly into the eye approximately every four weeks. According to Kumar-Singh, gene therapy approaches to treat AMD are especially attractive because they will allow patients to be treated less frequently, reducing patient discomfort and lowering chances of infection and other side effects associated with frequent injections into the eye.

The researchers, including co-first author Kasmir Ramo, BS, research technician, believe that while CD59 has significant potential as a treatment for AMD, the gene therapy approach lends itself for application also in other eye and systemic disorders where low-level activation of complement has been implicated.

"Prior to initiating human clinical trials, we will need to perform extensive preclinical toxicology studies. In order to advance this study to Phase I clinical trials, we have formed a partnership with Hemera Biosciences Inc. to raise private venture capital," said Kumar-Singh.

AMD, which results in a loss of sharp, central vision, is the number one cause of visual impairment among Americans age 60 and older. While treatments are available for wet AMD, they do not prevent the progression of dry AMD, the form that affects 90 percent of AMD patients.

Kumar-Singh noted, however, that the current study in combination with a previously published study from his laboratory suggests that CD59 may be useful for the treatment of both the dry and wet forms of AMD.

Notes

The study was published on April 28 in PLoS ONE.

This study was supported by grants from The Ellison Foundation; the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health; the Virginia B. Smith Trust and grants to the department of ophthalmology at TUSM from the Lions Eye Foundation and Research to Prevent Blindness.

Reference: Cashman SM, Ramo K, Kumar-Singh R. PLoS ONE. "A Non Membrane-Targeted Human Soluble CD59 Attenuates Choroidal Neovascularization in a Model of Age Related Macular Degeneration." Published online April 28, 2011, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019078

About Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University are described as international leaders in innovative medical education and advanced research. The School of Medicine and the Sackler School are renowned for excellence in education in general medicine, biomedical sciences, special combined degree programs in business, health management, public health, bioengineering and international relations, as well as basic and clinical research at the cellular and molecular level. Ranked among the top in the nation, the School of Medicine is affiliated with six major teaching hospitals and more than 30 health care facilities. Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School undertake research that is consistently rated among the highest in the nation for its effect on the advancement of medical science.


About Macular Degeneration

Also called: Age-related macular degeneration, AMD 

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. You need central vision to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision.

>> NIH: National Eye Institute at MedlinePlus

Watch Video from National Eye Institute

>> Click to video - “What is Macular Degeneration”


Coping with Macular Degeneration - opens in new window

 

Watch Video from NIH Senior Health

"Coping with Macular Degeneration" [5 min 21 sec]

 


 

> Medical Malpractice,

> Nursing Home Abuse,

> Personal Injury

Our Experienced Lawyers Can Help

Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney"We win because we care, we prepare and we have no fear," Beth Janicek, board certified personal injury attorney

 

Free Consultation on your case.

Call Now Toll Free

1-877-795-3425

or Send Email

More at our Website

 

 

Search for more about this topic on SeniorJournal.com

Google Web SeniorJournal.com

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

 

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page

Copyright: SeniorJournal.com

    

 

Published by New Tech Media - www.NewTechMedia.com

Other New Tech Media sites include CaroleSutherland.com, BethJanicek.com, SASeniors.com, DrugDanger.com, etc.