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New Research ‘Shows Promise’ for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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It comes from the University at Albany-SUNY.

Research have published promising new findings on age-related macular degeneration, according to the University at Albany-SUNY.

University at Albany doctoral student Janmeet Saini, together with researchers at the Neural Stem Cell Institute at the university’s health sciences campus, published the findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

The most common form of AMD, dry AMD, is caused by the degeneration of a layer of cells beneath the retina, called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, the university notes.

The research team derived induced pluripotent stem cell, or iPSCs, from AMD patients and healthy individuals to create a pure population of RPE cells. The iPSC derived RPE from AMD patients showed higher levels of complement and inflammatory factors than those from healthy individuals.

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Complement is a vital system of immune surveillance in humans that controls the inflammation and immunity, protecting the healthy host tissues by separating them from diseased cells, foreign invaders and debris.

A delicate balance is maintained between the activation and regulation of complement. However, with aging and in several disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and AMD, the complement system can become dysregulated, resulting in host tissue damage.

The NSCI research showed that RPE treated with Nicotinamide, a vitamin B3 derivative, showed reduced signs of abnormal AMD proteins in the cultured RPE cells, significant suppression of complement and inflammatory pathways, as well as improved RPE cell survival. Nicotinamide treatment also showed promise for slowing the progression from dry to wet AMD.

Further studies of the way Nicotinamide protects RPE cells should aid in the development of novel AMD therapies, with the goal of preserving vision in the elderly.

The most common form of AMD, dry AMD, is caused by the degeneration of a layer of cells beneath the retina, called the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE)

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