Researchers at Trinity College Dublin claim to have made a breakthrough which could pave the way for a new treatment for a type of eye disease.
People suffering from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can go blind as the condition worsens. It is a common cause of blindness among elderly people
Now the Dublin scientists believe they are on the verge of finding a new way to combat it.
A report in China’s Xinhua news agency says they have found a component of the immune system called IL-18 surprises the production of blood vessels behind the retina which could damage eyesight.
Tests on mice have shown that IL-18 can be administered in a non-invasive way.
Sarah Doyle, assistant professor of Trinity College Dublin said: “We were initially concerned that IL-18 might cause damage to the sensitive cells of the retina, because it is typically linked to inflammation.
“But surprisingly we found that low doses had no adverse effects on the retina and yet still suppressed abnormal blood vessel growth.”
This could lead to a huge improvement on therapeutic options available to patients.