New therapy target could prevent blindness in premature babies

17 September 2014

A new study has suggested a treatment that could prevent premature babies from losing their sight. The research, conducted at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center (Sainte-Justine UHC) and Université de Montréal, focused on activating a receptor that moves to the nucleus in nerve cells.

This receptor then promotes the growth of blood vessels and could open up the possibility of developing new drug-based treatments for premature babies, who are at risk of losing their sight.

The findings, published in the medical journal Nature Medicine, could see more selective drugs being created that are able to manage the abnormal growth of blood vessels, which would prevent blindness including retinopathy of prematurity, a disorder that may result in retinal detachment due to abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina of the eye.

"This study shows that a single receptor may play various roles depending on whether its site of action is in the nucleus or on the cell membrane," said Dr Jean-Sébastien Joyal, a pediatric intensivist at the Sainte-Justine UHC and an assistant professor at the Université de Montréal. 

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

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