A potential detection marker for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is reported in Nature. It's hoped that the finding might lead to new therapies to slow the vision loss associated with the disease.
AMD is a major cause of blindness worldwide and the prevalence is expected to double in the next decade. In many cases, loss of sight occurs when new blood vessels grow up abnormally from behind the retina, which can cause it to detach. Using a mouse model of AMD, Jayakrishna Ambati and colleagues show that the receptor CCR3 has a role in promoting the aberrant blood vessel growth and that blocking it slows disease. In fact, blocking CCR3 was even more effective than the clinically approved treatment for AMD -- blocking VEGF-A -- and was associated with less toxicity.
The team also looked at patient samples and found that whereas CCR3 was expressed in patients with AMD, it was notably absent from healthy controls. Together the findings suggest that CCR3 could be a useful diagnostic tool and a potentially exciting therapeutic target.
Jayakrishna Ambati (University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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