ON GRADUAL VICTORIES IN SCIENCE (part 1)
THE VICTORY OVER MACULAR DEGENERATION – COMING SOON!
“If macular degeneration (MD) were a country, it would be the eighth most populous country in the world,” said one scientist.
Yes – 200 million people would live there. Remember, this is the primary reason for loss of vision. Finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!
They’ve discovered a trigger that leads to this inflammation. It turns out that the main culprit is an enzyme. This enzyme plays an important role in the organism’s immune response to infection, as it detects foreign DNA, but it also has a negative role in the dry form of MD, usually associated with age.
In a sense, this is surprising, because MD has nothing to do with viruses or bacteria. Nevertheless, the enzyme sounds the alarm, leading to the destruction of retinal cells and ultimately blindness.
This enzyme reacts not only to pathogens, but also to other dangerous problems that require an immune response, and it’s possible that it plays a similar role with diabetes, lupus, and obesity. Physicians are already working on drugs that block this mechanism which pits the immune system against its own organism.
But let’s not throw our hats in the air just yet – it will be another couple of years before this treatment is ready, and then there will be checks for effectiveness and safety…
In the meantime, scientists are trying to determine the level of the enzyme in the patients’ eyes. This will give them the opportunity to decide when to start blocking it, and it will have a level of accuracy down to a single molecule.
Here at BEI, as you know, accuracy is highly prized, so we will be following these events closely.
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash