Can sight be restored?
A new form of therapy could help treat a range of eye conditions and possibly even restore vision in premature babies and adults.
Can vision loss be reversed in the future? (Image: Sergey Nivens / Stock.Adobe.com)
Based on the results of a new study involving researchers from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), many forms of vision loss could potentially be treated effectively in the future. The study was published in the English-language journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).
Target identified for new therapies
In their investigation, the research group identified a compound that could enable therapies for a number of eye diseases such as premature retinopathy and diabetic retinopathy. Based on the results of the new study, even people with an advanced course of the disease could potentially experience a turning point in their fate, the researchers say.
A network of vessels blocks light in the eyes
Various eye diseases occur when the blood vessels in the retina become uncontrollable. In these forms of retinopathy, a network of vessels prevents light from reaching the retina. This process causes visual problems that can lead to complete blindness, experts report.
Irreversible visual damage in infants and adults
Retinopathy in premature infants associated with high oxygen levels in incubators often resolves naturally over time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In these cases and in adult diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, the visual damage may be irreversible.
The blood vessels of the mice were examined
The researchers tried to find evidence for a possible thinning of the entangled vessels by analyzing a different group of vessels that naturally recede and disappear soon after birth in mice. When examining newborn mice, the researchers found that the levels of a certain class of cellular proteins decreased when the mice experienced normal loss of blood vessels in the eye.
Success of previous treatments
Experts have speculated that these cellular proteins could be an important switch in the elimination of vessels in a newborn model. “It’s a new way of approaching these diseases. The current methods – invasive surgery or lifelong injections into the eye – only stop the disease from progressing and often lead to serious complications, ”said study author Dr. Courtney Griffin in a release from hurry.
The blood vessels should shrink and die
Researchers identify an experimental compound that deactivated proteins. So the switch could be flipped and your hypothesis verified. The researchers planned to trick the blood vessels of sick mice into regressing and dying naturally – successfully.
Benefits of the active ingredient
The active ingredient used for this only affects the abnormal blood vessels with slow blood flow. The normal vessels necessary for a healthy eye, however, were not affected. The results open the door to tailor-made therapies to correct vision loss, experts say. “We have shown that once these abnormal vessels have formed in the young eye, they are susceptible to treatment,” says Griffin.
The team will continue to study the active ingredient in models of eye disease in adults. More research is now needed, but it could be a big step forward in treating vision loss in people of all ages, the research team hopes. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: OMRF Discovery Has Potential to Reverse Vision Loss (published October 6, 2020), OMRF Christopher M. Schafer, Jami M. Gurley, Katarzyna Kurylowicz, Prisca K. Lin, Wen Chen and al .: An inhibitor of endothelial ETS transcription factors promotes physiological and therapeutic regression of vessels, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (published October 5, 2020), PNAS
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.