Viable Treatment Option for Age-related Macular Degeneration

Scientist announced that a component of the immune system inflammatory cytokine interleukin-18 (IL-18) can prevent, but does not cause, damage to blood vessels behind the retina at the back of eye. This new treatment could be replaceable option for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause central blindness in sufferers. The study was published in the international journal Science Translational Medicine on April 2, 2014.

Sarah Doyle, the first author on the paper from Trinity College Dublin and colleagues took the examination of the role of IL-18 in a mouse model with wet age-related macular degeneration and found surprisingly that low does of IL-18 has no adverse effects on the retina and yet still suppresses abnormal blood vessel growth and directly inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Research Assistant Professor in Genetics at Trinity, Matthew Campbell added: “Our findings have highlighted the power of industry-academic collaborations, the results of which should lead to clinical deployment of IL-18 as a treatment for AMD in the short term". 

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