Gene treatment for macular degeneration

by Medindia Content Team on  August 14, 2002 at 5:55 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Gene treatment for macular degeneration
As researchers learn more and more about the genes that cause a number of medical conditions, opportunities for treatment with gene therapy become increasingly likely. In an interview with Jonathan Davidorf, M.D., explained exciting new advances in the treatment of some forms of macular degeneration. According to him it is the use of gene therapy to treat some forms of macular degeneration.

Researchers have recognized the gene responsible for some cases of macular degeneration quite recently. With this knowledge, and the advances in gene therapy, they are able to get the abnormal gene working again. The trick is that the virus is used to target the bad gene. The virus carries with it the repair mechanism for the gene, which is transferred when the virus "infects" the gene.

Even more exciting than being able to use gene therapy, says Dr. Davidorf, is a recently discovered method that makes getting the virus where it has to go easier. The key is getting the virus to integrate into the back of the eyeball. In the past, researchers believed they had to inject it into that area. Now, new research in the lab shows the treatment is equally as effective when the virus is injected into the center cavity.

With this treatment, researchers hope to be able to correct the deficient genes that lead to excess blood vessel growth - the main factor in wet macular degeneration. While the treatment is still experimental and is not being done in humans, Dr. Davidorf says this type of therapy offers encouraging news for the future of macular degeneration treatment.


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