Scientists Discover New Protein Linked to AMD

Saturday, February 8, 2020 - 10:10

Researchers of Queen Mary University of London have discovered a new protein linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that could offer new hope for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, which affects over 1.5 million people in the UK alone.

According to the Science Daily report, a group of scientists from Queen Mary University of London, the University of Manchester, Cardiff University and Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, found significantly higher levels of a protein called factor H-related protein 4 (FHR-4) in the blood of AMD patients.

The results of this study open up new routes for early diagnosis, by measuring FHR-4 levels in the blood, and suggest therapies targeting this protein could provide promising future treatment options for the disease.

Previous studies have linked the complement system to AMD showing that genetically inherited faults in key complement proteins are strong risk factors for the condition.

In this study, the researchers used a genetic technique, known as a genome-wide association study, to identify specific changes in the genome related to the increased levels of FHR-4 found in AMD patients.

Together, the findings suggest that inherited genetic changes can lead to higher blood FHR-4 levels, which results in uncontrolled activation of the complement system within the eye and drives disease.

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