A research team at Trinity College Dublin has developed a new gene therapy that could help treat a progressive eye disease that affects up to 10% of adults over 65 years of age.
It targets the dry form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which leads to severe vision impairment and blindness in this age group.
Currently there are no treatments available to treat or prevent disease progression.
The team at TCD have developed a new gene therapy that is the first of its kind to target a certain function in cells that are malfunctioning.
The new gene therapy uses a virus to access the cells that are suffering and deliver the code needed to continue to function to support vision.
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Professor Jane Farrar, senior author of the study, said that it provides the first evidence in models that directly targeting these eye cells can provide benefit and improve visual function in dry AMD.
The research team said that more work needs to be done before this could be made available as a treatment for patients.
But they said that the results give hope that researchers are getting closer to a solution to this debilitating condition.
The study has been published in the journal Clinical and Translational Medicine.
The TCD research team is funded by Enterprise Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under Ireland's European Structural and Investment Funds programme 1014-2020, Science Foundation Ireland, Fighting Blindness Ireland – Health Research Charities Ireland, EU Marie Curie Innovative Training Network, Health Research Board Ireland, Health Research Charities and the Irish Research Council (StarT).