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Competitiveness / Healthand Welbeing



A new Swedish discovery provide cure for common eye disease

Sunday, 26 May 2013
Swedish  and Dutch researchers have found a change in a particular gene that may be an important contributor to the common and debilitating eye disease AMD, age-related macular degeneration. This is being hailed as a new route to curing eye problems associated with age.

The disease is described as that which, in most cases, have not been able to be treated, but scientists have found that there are already drugs for other diseases which are now being tested in patients with AMD, reports radio Sweden
Professor Anna Blom, Professor of Protein Chemistry at Lund University and Wallenberg Laboratory in University Hospital in Malmö, speaking to radio Sweden said that the drugs being tested might receive approval within five years.
"The essentials of this discovery is that there are inhibitors that can interfere with this system," she says.

Today there are in most cases no viable treatments for age-related macular degeneration, a disease called AMD. It affects 5,000 Swedes people annually.

For Anna Blom, it hopes therefore make use of already existing drugs, called complement inhibitors, which are used for other diseases, but tested in patients with AMD.

It requires, however, that the clinical trials will start well before the drugs are approved for the treatment of eye disease.

"If the companies that are producing these complement inhibitors would prioritize this disease, which I believe they will do because it is a large and important disease, then you can actually get permission to deal with it in five years. Normally we talk about ten to fifteen years from initial detection to treatment," says Anna Blom.

Ten percent of all aged over 75 have vision problems caused by AMD, namely age-related macular degeneration. The culprit is believed that part of the body's immune system.

That part is called the complement system and acts partly as body cleaning patrol removing waste products and dead cells.

However, the complement system can sometimes become overzealous in its cleaning activity and it start causing inflammation that makes tissues dies - and that's what is thought happens in the eyes of those affected with AMD.

The discovery of the change in the so-called complementary gene has been made in collaboration with Dutch researchers. Since the eye disease is largely hereditary, there is now a continuing pursuit of further so-called gene mutations suspected to be contributing to the disease.

"Since we are living much longer, it very important to focus on the diseases that affect the elderly, we actually want to have good quality of life even at the end," says Anna Blom to radio Sweden.
By Team

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