UF Health research points to potential treatment for macular degeneration, uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye – the uvea, also known as the uceal tract.The uvea, consists collectively of the iris, the choroid of the eye, and the ciliary body. Inflammation of the iris (iritis) is the most common type of uveitis.-MNT
By: Doug Bennett
Inflammation is a major culprit in age-related macular degeneration and some other eye diseases. Now, University of Florida Health researchers have found a promising treatment that inhibits those diseases by interrupting the process that causes inflammation at its earliest steps.
 After testing it in a mouse model, researchers believe the treatment could ultimately be used for various inflammatory eye diseases in humans. The approach uses an inhibitor protein derived from a virus to disrupt inflammation, which plays a role in the progression of one form of age-related macular degeneration. Their findings were published in the January edition of the journal Human Gene Therapy.
The researchers’ discovery could be significant for those who suffer from the “dry” form of macular degeneration, a disease of the retina that causes blurry central vision and sometimes leads to blindness. An estimated 12 million people in the United States have dry macular degeneration.
They also found that the therapy is effective on uveitis, an eye inflammation that affects some 40,000 people each year. Currently, there is no effective treatment for dry macular degeneration. Long-term use of steroids to treat eye inflammations such as uveitis increases the risk of glaucoma.
The researchers used an adeno-associated viral vector to deliver an inflammation-blocking protein into the eye. Their approach involves plucking the gene that makes the beneficial protein from a myxoma virus, typically found in rabbits in Australia and parts of Europe, and inserting it into the AAV vector. The modified AAV vector inhibits the immune response that causes inflammation in diseased eye tissues, according to the study’s findings. The therapy was first tested in tissue cultures and then the mouse model…….
Read More: https://ufhealth.org/news/2015/uf-health-research-points-potential-treatment-macular-degeneration-uveitis
Source: University of Florida Health