Team Identifies Novel Target for Treating Retinal Degeneration

April 23, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

Lab.Equipment has curated a new article from the Bio Tech industry for you. This one is published by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN):

Multi-disciplinary work led by researchers from Trinity College Dublin has reportedly pinpointed a potential new therapeutic target for treating retinal degeneration. The work has discovered that a protein (SARM1) involved in neuronal cell injury may also have a role in the progression of retinal degeneration.

The research “SARM1 deficiency promotes rod and cone photoreceptor cell survival in a model of retinal degeneration”, involving experts from Trinity’s Schools of Medicine, Biochemistry and Immunology, Genetics and Microbiology, and Engineering, has just been published in the journal Life Science Alliance.

Millions of people worldwide suffer varying degrees of vision-loss due to irreversible retinal degenerative diseases. In Ireland alone, approximately 5,000 people are affected by inherited retinal degenerations, while another 80,000 are known to live with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Photoreceptor cells are specialized neurons found in the back of our eyes that convert light into electrical signals that allow us to see. It is the death of these cells, and the cells that nourish them, that is termed retinal degeneration and is characteristic of blinding diseases such as AMD and retinitis pigmentosa.

“Lots of different factors can initiate retinal degeneration and lead to severe visual impairment and eventual blindness, but ultimately the end-point is photoreceptor cell death,” Ema Ozaki, PhD, research fellow in clinical medicine at Trinity. “Although it seems unlikely the process of cell-death is, in fact, a programmed or organized event that directs proteins in our cells to take on ‘executioner’ roles.”

In this research, the team led by Sarah Doyle, PhD, assistant professor in immunology at Trinity, investigated the role of one such “executioner protein” called SARM1. The protein has come to the fore recently in the study of brain and... More of this in the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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