New protein offers hope to AMD sufferers

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A protein, called Robo4, has been identified which appears to play an important role in the development of stable, working blood vessels.

A protein, called Robo4, has been identified which appears to play an important role in the development of stable, working blood vessels, reports a study published online ahead of print by Nature Medicine.

Dean Y Li and colleagues from the University of Utah activated the proteins in mice bred to mimic the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) and found that blood vessel damage was prevented and, in some cases, even reversed.

Although this does not yet prove that the same principle will work in humans, the researchers believe that it does represent a major breakthrough, which could be harnessed to produce important drugs.

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