Researchers at UVA think they’ve discovered new strategies to stop eyesight loss.
A novel focus that stops the knotting of blood vessels linked to illnesses including proliferative diabetic retinopathy, neovascular macular degeneration, and ischemic retinal vein occlusion was discovered by a brand new study.
Blood vessel knotting was thought to be the result of deviant vessel development brought on by an overabundance of “vascular endothelial growth factor-A.”
Although there are already medications available to stop excessive blood vessel expansion, these medications lose their effectiveness as time goes by.
This new research discovered a crucial protein needed by VGF to maintain growth. In lab mice, the researchers managed to block the protein, which had the desired effect of lowering VEGF levels.
There were no overt side effects of the experimental treatment. Initially, the scientists were worried that the retina would be affected, but that did not happen.
The director of UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science, Jayakrishna Ambati, explains that “Our study has opened the possibility of mitigating aberrant blood vessel growth in many eye diseases by targeting the epigenetic machinery. Through local targeting of the epigenetic regulator, we’ve managed to gain a deeper understanding of how ocular immune cells are able to cause a loss of control over the blood vessel growth found under the retina.”
“This approach also offers a brand new direction for the development of some more effective, cost efficient and accessible interventions, therefore avoiding issues such as drug resistance, which is quite a growing concern with conventional anti VEGF therapies used in clinical treatments.”
Over 4 million Americans over the age of 40 have poor eyesight or are legally blind, according to the CDC. Age-related illnesses are the primary cause of blindness.
The CDC estimates that the total economic cost of blindness and loss of vision in 2017 was $134.2 billion. The total cost came to $16,838 per affected person per year.
Each year, 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of diabetic retinopathy, for instance, are reported in the US.