[R]esearchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine were looking for ways to treat a particular type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) known as a wet AMD. It’s a rare and more severe form of the disease [that] causes new blood vessels to grow under the retina, which then leak blood and fluid into the eye, leading to vision problems.
The researchers knew they could halt and even reverse the condition by suppressing an overactive protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Other researchers had been able to do it with monthly eye injections, but this team was hoping to do it with just one injection.
The best way they found to do this was by using a common cold-like virus called AAV2 as a carrier of gene that activates the production of a different protein, sFLT01, to counter VEGF.
The clinical trial showed promising results, with the condition of four of the patients improving dramatically after just one viral injection. [T]he treatment didn’t produce any side effects in any patients, either. “Even at the highest dose, the treatment was quite safe. We found there were almost no adverse reactions in our patients,” said researcher Peter Campochiaro.
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