Major breakthrough in early detection and prevention of AMD

Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor of physiology and ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky, led the research that identified receptor CCR3 as a key investigative target in age-related macular degeneration. Photo credit: University of KentuckyLEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2009) – A team of researchers led by Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati at the University of Kentucky has discovered a biological marker for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in older adults.

The marker, a receptor known as CCR3, shows strong potential as a means for both the early detection of the disease and for preventive treatment. The findings were reported in an article published online Sunday by the prestigious journal Nature.

"This is a major paradigm shift in macular degeneration research," said Ambati, a professor of physiology, professor and vice-chair of ophthalmology and visual sciences, and the Dr. E. Vernon and Eloise C. Smith Endowed Chair in Macular Degeneration at the UK College of Medicine. "With CCR3, we have for the first time found a unique molecular signature for the disease. This brings us closer than we have ever been to developing a clinical diagnostic tool to discover and treat the disease early, before vision is lost."

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