Stem cells used to fight Macular Degeneration

November 7, 2017

The following is from Lauren Tappan:

UCSB scientists near cure for blinding eye disease.
Once thought impossible, a cure for a blinding eye disease is in the works at UC Santa Barbara.

Researchers are in a phase one clinical trial with a procedure that would improve or cure the vision for those suffering from Macular Degeneration. The blinding eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans and impacts the sight of 20 million people worldwide.

It’s a sophisticated procedure that places stem cells in the back of the eye to repair damaged areas.

Those cells would last for the patients lifetime and would be implanted in a one-time procedure.

Getting this treatment to the most people could still be years away but the work being done at UCSB is groundbreaking in the world of vision restoration.

“In five years my hope is that we’ll be ready to get this approved and out to patients to help people who currently don’t have a therapy to use,” Professor Clegg of UC Santa Barbara said.

For more info:

http://www.keyt.com/news/ucsb-scientists-near-cure-for-blinding-eye-disease/649063682

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Durham Community Low Vision Center

October 19, 2017

Community Low Vision Center
New To Durham!

Join us for an Open House
to celebrate the opening of our
Community Low Vision Center.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 pm
Community Low Vision Center
Erwin Terrace
2816 Erwin Road, Suite 201
Durham, NC 27705

light hors d’oeurves served with beer & wine

Helping preserve & create independent
lifestyles for persons with all levels of low vision.

RSVP to marketing@ifbsolutions.org or
Barbara Soderlund at 336-245-5691


New Drug Slows Dry Macular Degeneration

October 14, 2017

An international team of researchers has found a way to slow the progression of an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of irreversible, severe vision loss in Western countries.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a platform of novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, developed a new compound called the complement factor 3 (C3) inhibitor APL-2 for treating patients with dry AMD.

The Phase II FILLY trial of APL-2 was sponsored by Apellis Pharmaceuticals and included 246 patients across 40 testing sites, in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

“These results are very exciting for all people afflicted with dry AMD,” said team member Dr. David Boyer, of Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group.

“It is currently an untreatable condition, and the reduction of the progression of atrophy in this trial offers new hope for vision maintenance for our patients.”

for more info:

http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/new-drug-dry-age-related-macular-degeneration-05307.html

 


AMD Project in EU

September 30, 2017

5-year project aims to reduce the disease burden of age-related macular degeneration in Europe and worldwide.

A new European-wide project involving researchers from City, University of London aims to develop new tests and therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The MACUSTAR project, which involves several European universities, medical-technology and pharmaceutical companies, will develop these clinical tests and therapeutic options over the course of the 5-year project to help reduce the disease burden of AMD in Europe and worldwide. The project is funded with 16 million euros and is being led by the University of Bonn, Germany.

MACUSTAR is the first exclusively eye disease-focused project approved by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Europe’s largest public-private initiative aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients.

Central to MACUSTAR is the development of a series of tests for worsening of AMD using state of the art imaging techniques, vision testing and patient reported outcome measures. The main idea is to test these novel approaches to see if subtle changes in AMD can be accurately detected over time. If this is achieved then it will lead to more efficient clinical trials for new treatments for AMD and accelerate drug development. The main costs for the MACUSTAR project are for a huge observational clinical study to be conducted in more than 700 AMD patients from 20 clinical sites across Europe.

For more info:

https://www.city.ac.uk/news/2017/september/landmark-eu-project-to-tackle-age-related-macular-degeneration

 


Blood test for macular degeneration

September 23, 2017

Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have discovered a group of metabolites that could be used to improve the diagnosis and treatment of AMD.

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear team studied metabolites, or small molecules in the blood of patients with early, intermediate and late-stage AMD, as well as from individuals without AMD.

They found 87 metabolites that were “significantly different” in people with AMD and those without. These molecules also differed between patients with different stages of AMD. This method, dubbed “metabolomics,” could enable the early diagnosis of AMD, allow doctors to personalize treatment for each patient and highlight potential new targets for treatments. The work is published in the journal Ophthalmology, sited below.

For more info:

http://www.fiercebiotech.com/research/blood-based-test-could-mean-earlier-diagnosis-better-treatments-for-macular-degeneration

http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(17)31093-X/fulltext


Drug may prevent macular degeneration

August 16, 2017

More than 11 million people in the U.S. suffer from age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, according to the Bright-Focus Foundation.

Now, a team of researchers believes levodopa can delay onset of both “dry” and “wet” forms of the disease, or even prevent it from happening at all.

University of Arizona researcher Brian McKay’s team analyzed health records of 87 million patients, tracking their response to Levodopa, a Parkinson’s disease drug.
“We both reduce the risk of ever developing the disease and so the incidence was lower and also showed that if you were taking L-dopa for a movement disorder, you developed AMD much later.” Brian S. McKay, PhD, Director of Basic Research, SW Center for Age-Related Eye Diseases, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science at the University of Arizona explained.
If they did, onset was delayed by nine years. We make Levodopa in tissue pigment. It helps keep our eye’s macula healthy. Professor McKay says taking Levodopa pills keeps the pigmentation pathway active, protecting people from AMD.

Fair haired, fair skinned people with light colored eyes have less pigment and are more affected by AMD.

Fourteen percent of Caucasians over the age of 80 have it, compared to less than four percent of African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.


Dry macular degeneration treatment

August 1, 2017

The following is from:

http://www.belmarrahealth.com/dry-macular-degeneration-treatment-home-remedies/

Treating dry macular degeneration

The unfortunate reality of dry macular degeneration is that it cannot be reversed. Symptoms develop gradually over time, with the user not realizing that they have vision problems until much later in the course of the condition. If caught early, treatment can be initiated before significant levels of vision loss occur. The following are some of the most common treatment methodologies.

  • Vitamin intake: Certain vitamins are known for improving symptoms of dry macular degeneration. In some cases, they help to slow down progression as well. Zinc supplementation helps in this regard. Vitamins rich in anti-oxidants such as A, C, and E are also beneficial.
  • Beta-carotene: A commonly promoted attribute of carrots, beta-carotene can also be useful for promoting eye health. However, beta-carotene supplementation is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers while increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables can help not only promote overall health but also maintain your vision.
  • Surgery: Selected individuals with significant vision impairment in both eyes may require this form of treatment. Surgically implanting a telescopic lens into the eye can help magnify field of vision. This surgery can help improve both distance and close-up vision but has a very narrow field of view.

Home remedies for dry macular degeneration

Your lifestyle can play an important role in the progression of dry macular degeneration. By making simple changes to your daily routine, you can give yourself the best chances for slowing down vision loss. Most of the home remedies recommended act as preventative measures to help you keep your sight as long as possible.

Don’t smoke: Smoking is considered a risk factor for dry macular degeneration development, so by quitting the habit, you’re helping preserve your vision further. If quitting smoking is too difficult, speak with your doctor to get some help.

Choose a healthy diet: Foods that contain antioxidants help to prevent damage to the sensitive structures in the eye. Several fruits and vegetables help to protect eye health. Some of these foods include kale, spinach, broccoli, and peas. These foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin—types of antioxidants that may benefit people with macular degeneration.

Foods with high zinc content may also help preserve vision. These include high protein foods such as beef, pork, and lamb. Non-meat sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread.

Studies have shown that food with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, and walnuts may lower the risk of advanced macular degeneration. However, this correlation was not seen when taking omega-3 supplements.

Manage other medical conditions: Having high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease can accelerate the progression of macular degeneration if not properly managed. It is recommended to control these conditions with prescribed medications to help slow down macular degeneration progression.

Exercise regularly: Getting exercise on a regular basis helps to slow down macular degeneration and keep the body healthy. Losing excess pounds also helps.

Get routine eye exams: There is no better way to determine if something is wrong with your vision then to test them, and the most qualified person to assess your eyes would be an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. By going to your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can be sure that if macular degeneration were to begin, you would catch it at the earliest stage possible.

Vitamin supplementation: Patients with intermediate or advanced macular degeneration taking a high-dose formulation of antioxidants can help reduce the risk of vision loss. Unfortunately, those in early stages of the condition do not benefit from these supplements. The following vitamins and dosages are recommended:

  • Vitamin C – 500mg
  • Vitamin E – 400IU (international units)
  • Lutein – 10 mg
  • Zeaxanthin – 2 mg
  • Zinc (as zinc oxide) – 25 or 80 mg
  • Copper (as cupric oxide) – 2 mg