Major AMD breakthrough
Wednesday, April 23 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
A team of scientists from Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, have made a major breakthrough that could lead to new AMD therapies.
The scientists found that a component of the immune system called IL-18 acts as a guardian of eyesight by suppressing the production of damaging blood vessels behind the retina at the back of the eye. In addition, experiments conducted on pre-clinical models showed that IL-18 can be administered in a non-invasive way, which could represent a major improvement on the current therapeutic options that are available to patients.
“We were initially concerned that IL-18 might cause damage to the sensitive cells of the retina, because it is typically linked to inflammation,” explained Sarah Doyle, lead author of the paper published in Science Translational Medicine. “But surprisingly we found that low doses had no adverse effects on the retina and yet still suppressed abnormal blood vessel growth.”
The only therapeutic options available today for wet AMD are intraocular injections of antibodies. However, IL-18 could produce the same results through intravenous injections, according to preclinical study findings.