MONTREAL, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Scientists have won a major battle in
the fight against age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a blinding eye
disease that affects millions of people. An international team, led by
researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Université de Montréal, has
identified the deficient receptor that causes the dry form of AMD.
In the February edition of the medical journal PLoS Medicine, the
researchers explain how a deficiency of the CD36 receptor prevents the
evacuation of oxidized lipids in the eye. Those oxidized lipids in turn
accumulate and attack the layers beneath and over the retina - thereby causing
"Our discovery has important implications for the development of new
therapies," explains lead researcher, Dr. Sylvain Chemtob, who co-authored the
paper with Université de Montréal collaborator Dr. Huy Ong, a professor at the
Faculty of Pharmacy, as well as Florian Sennlaub of the Institut national de
la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) in France.
Chemtob, a neonatal researcher at Sainte-Justine Hospital and a professor
at the Université de Montréal's Department of Pediatrics and School of
Optometry, used mice and rat models to pinpoint the scavenger receptor
responsible for retinal degeneration typical of dry AMD. "We found that a
deficiency in CD36 receptors leads to significant and progressive age-related
macular degeneration," he says. "CD36 deficiency leads to central vision loss
- a key feature of dry AMD."
"This discovery brings us one step closer to treating dry AMD, which
could significantly improve the quality of life of seniors who are most
affected by this eye disease," added co-author Dr. Huy Ong. "Now that we have
also developed the molecules that activate CD 36 receptor, we are working on
the validation of the efficacy of these molecules as potential therapeutic
agents for dry AMD treatment with prospect at the horizon of 2015."
Wet and dry AMD remain an alarming cause of vision loss in the western
world, which according to the AMD Alliance International, affect 30 million
people aged 50 and over. Dry AMD is the most pervasive of the disorders and
affects 90 percent of AMD cases.
AMD on the Web:
The original article from PLoS Medicine.
<a href="http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050039">ournal.pmed.0050039</a> )
Learn more about the AMD Alliance International.
Take the CNIB AMD Challenge to see if you are at risk.
More on dry AMD:
According to CNIB, a national charity committed to vision health, dry AMD
is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada and affects over one million
people in this country. Dry AMD occurs when the layer of cells beneath the
retina begin to age and thin, affecting the overlying retina, which gradually
dulls and blurs central vision. Dry AMD can also cause little or no symptoms
until the disease more advanced. As AMD gets worse, a person may see a blurred
or blank spot in the centre of vision or notice a gradual decline in their
ability to see fine print. People with dry AMD may have difficulty recognizing
faces or may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally
affects both eyes, yet vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems
For further information:
For further information: Nicole Saint-Pierre, Communications advisor,
Public affairs and communications, Sainte-Justine Hospital, (514) 345-4931,
Ext. 2555, email@example.com; Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins,
International press attaché, Université de Montréal, (514) 343-7593,