Improving the View: Treatment reverses macular degeneration | Science News

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Improving the View: Treatment reverses macular degeneration

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9:10am, October 4, 2006

People with a relentless eye disease now have a better-than-average prospect of recovering some vision, thanks to a new drug that takes a lesson from an anticancer strategy, two studies show.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. In the less common, wet form of the disease, rogue blood vessels escape normal growth control and leak fluid into the macula, the area at the center of the retina that enables a person to see fine detail.

As a result of fluid disrupting their sight, people with the condition often see straight lines as crooked. This form of macular degeneration can lead to legal blindness within months.

Cancer researchers have developed a drug to stop the similarly aberrant blood vessel growth that's often present in tumors. The new eye studies showcase a drug called ranibizumab, which is a fragment of the cancer drug. Both drugs inhibit a protein essential to blood vessel growth, says David M. Brown, a retina

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