Allison Elliott-Shannon

Research Represents Major Breakthrough in Macular Degeneration

Published: Apr 26, 2012

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26 , 2012) — University of Kentucky researchers, led by Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, have made a major breakthrough in the “dry” form of age-related macular degeneration known as geographic atrophy (GA). GA is an untreatable condition that causes blindness in millions of individuals due to death of retinal pigmented epithelial cells. The paper, "DICER1 loss and Alu RNA Induce Age-Related Macular Degeneration via the NLRP3 Inflammasome and MyD88," was published in the April 26 online edition of the premier journal Cell.

 

Ambati, professor of physiology, and professor and vice chair of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UK, is a leader in the field of macular degeneration research. Previous research from the Ambati laboratory published in the journal Nature showed that in human eyes with geographic atrophy there is a deficiency of the enzyme DICER1, leading to accumulation of toxic Alu RNA molecules in the retinal pigmented epithelium. The Cell paper shows that when these RNAs build up in the eye they trigger activation of an immune complex known as the NLRP3 inflammasome. In turn, this leads to the production of a molecule known as IL-18, which causes death of retinal pigmented epithelial cells and vision loss by activating a critical protein known as MyD88.

 

Importantly, Ambati and colleagues found evidence that activity of the inflammasome, IL-18, and MyD88 were all increased in human eyes with GA. They then showed that blocking any of these components could prevent retinal degeneration in multiple disease models. The researchers are excited that blocking these pathways could herald a new potential therapy for GA, for which there is no approved treatment.

 

Ambati is working with iVeena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Salt Lake City to commercialize therapies for geographic atrophy. iVeena can be contacted at info@i-veena.com.

 

Authors on the paper include Ambati as well as Valeria Tarallo, Yoshio Hirano, Bradley D. Gelfand, Sami Dridi, Nagaraj Kerur, Younghee Kim, Won Gil Cho, Hiroki Kaneko, Benjamin J. Fowler, Sasha Bogdonaovich, Romulo J.C. Albuquerque, Judi Z. Baffi and Mark E. Kleinman, all of the UK Department of Opthalmology and Visual Science. Additional authors include: William W. Hauswirth and Vince A. Chiodo of the University of Florida; Jennifer F. Kugel, James A. Goodrich and Steven L. Ponicsan of the University of Colorado; Gautaum Chaudhuri of Meharry Medical College; Michael P. Murphy of the MRC Mitochondrial biology Unit; Joshua L. Dunaief of the University of Pennsylvania; Balamurali K. Ambati of the University of Utah and the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Healthcare System; Yuichiro Ogura of the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Japan; Jae Wook Yoo and Dong-ki Lee of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea; Patrick Provost of Université Laval, Quebec; David R. Hinton of the University of Southern California; and Gabriel Nunez of the University of Michigan Medical School.

 

Ambati is also the Dr. E. Vernon and Eloise C. Smith Endowed Chair in Macular Degeneration Research.

 

This research was supported by the National Eye Institute, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and Research to Prevent Blindness.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Elliott, allison.elliott@uky.edu

 

 

hazel-eyes.jpg
July
 
 
1
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
2
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
3
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
4
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
5
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
6
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Benday Dot Day
Sun
7
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
8
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
9
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
10
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
11
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
12
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
International Youth Water Justice Summit
Sat
13
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
14
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
15
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
16
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Dr. Greg Jicha)
Wed
17
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
18
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
19
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Color Water Balloon Fight
Sat
20
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Summer Salon: Landscape as Subject with Tom Barnes, Photographer
Sun
21
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
22
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
23
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
24
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
25
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
26
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
27
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
28
 
Mon
29
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
30
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Mary Crowley Schmidt)
Wed
31
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
 
 

Wed, 07/23/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Thu, 07/24/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Fri, 07/25/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Sat, 07/26/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Sun, 07/27/2014

Reset Page