Researchers at Queen's University in Ireland have found a genetic link that could help in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Professor Anne Hughes presented the findings of the study at the British Society for Human Genetics Conference in York last week.
It also appears in Nature Genetics. "I am very pleased to have solved a complex and difficult genetic puzzle. This helps us to identify more accurately those at risk of developing AMD. There is hope for development of a preventative treatment based, perhaps, on gene silencing," said Hughes.
"It is important to state that it does not give hope of a cure to those affected by AMD at the moment, but there is potential to save the sight of others in the future. Without the cooperation of the patients at the ophthalmology clinics in the RVH, we could not have made this discovery."
AMD is the most common cause of blindness in the elderly. Both genetic factors and smoking are involved in causing it. The present research showed that deleting two important genes could help lower the risk of this disease.