Nanoparticle protects eyes from retinal diseases.
GOLDEN, CO, October 01, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — Researchers from Tufts University published results from a study showing vision-saving gene therapy to the eyes can be delivered via nanotechnology. A protein called Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurtrophic Factor (GDNF) can protect the eyes from diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The previous method for delivering genetic material with a virus had several problems and side effects.
Although the study is in its infancy, and the results are temporary, mice injected with the GDNF carrying nanoparticle had a 3.9 to 7.7-fold reduction in damage to the retina. Seven days after treatment, the GDNF-nanoparticle treated mice had up to 39% better eyesight than mice in the control group. Two weeks after the treatment, GDNF-nanoparticle-injected mice had nuclear layers of the retina that were almost 24 to over 39 percent thicker than control mice. However, after 14 days, these advantages seem to have vanished.
According to Dr. Brett Katzen of the Katzen Eye Group, and a member of eyes.com, “The idea of using gene therapy to help cure – or at least improve – the eyesight of patients with macular degeneration should be exciting to eye doctors everywhere. This is a great first step.”