Thursday, August 28, 2008

Treatment for Eye Disease can HARM Vision

The side effect of decoding the genome is that now everyone can -- simplistically -- blame our genes, when it's actually TOXINS that can turn on and off genes. Rachel Carson wrote all about it way back then...

But in case anyone you know is looking into this treatment for macular degeneration. From Newswise, the journalists'-only news source:

Newswise — Having discovered a genetic trigger for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50, researchers report that an experimental state-of-the-art therapy for treating eye disease could adversely affect the vision of some patients with the “wrong” genetic makeup.

In the August 28 online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a multi-institutional team, including an interdisciplinary contingent from Johns Hopkins, reports that a mutation in toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), a protein known to help cells fight some types of infection, is associated with protection from geographic atrophy. Geographic atrophy, also known as the “dry” form of macular degeneration, is the progressive shriveling of retinal cells in the central part of the tissue called the macula where cell loss equates to irreversible vision loss.

The new study implies that there could, in fact, be adverse consequences in some individuals who undergo a new treatment using a method called RNA interference to silence genes in the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), where growth of abnormal blood vessels causes vision loss.