Public Release:  Study paves way for development of macular degeneration cures

Animal model partially funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness developed at Cleveland Clinic, published in Nature Medicine

Foundation Fighting Blindness

January 28, 2008 - Owings Mills, MD -- A new study of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that affects more than nine million Americans, will pave the way for the biopharmaceutical industry to develop better treatments and cures, according to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which partially funded the research.

"This is the first time that scientists have been able to create an AMD animal model that closely represents the disease in people," said Stephen Rose, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer, Foundation Fighting Blindness. "Though there are some treatments for the wet form of AMD, we still don't have a cure for the condition, and millions of people are still at risk of losing their vision to both the dry and wet forms. This new model will greatly enhance the development of better treatments and potentially a cure."

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine used oxidative chemicals to sensitize the immune systems in mice and create AMD . The study is titled "Oxidative damage-induced inflammation initiates age-related macular degeneration," and was published in the online edition of the scientific journal Nature Medicine on January 27.

Once developed, therapies for the dry form, or early stage of AMD, could be implemented before vision is lost, which would be a dramatic breakthrough in the treatment of the disease, Rose said.

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For a copy of the study visit: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nm1709.html

For questions or interview requests, contact David Harrison, Foundation Fighting Blindness, 410-804-1728.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (www.FightBlindness.org) is the largest source of non-governmental funding for retinal degenerative disease research in the world. The urgent mission of The Foundation Fighting Blindness is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.

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