Text Size Normal Text Sizing Button Medium Text Sizing Button Large Text Sizing Button Text Contrast Normal Contrast Button Reverse Contrast Button Switch to Spanish Language Press Room Contact Us Sitemap Sign In Register
Link to Homepage About BrightFocus
BrightFocus
Donate Now Get Involved  
Alzheimer's Disease Research Macular Degeneration Research National Glaucoma Research


Stay Informed: Medical and Research Updates
Connect With Us! Visit the Children's Corner for Macular Degeneration
 

 

New Tool Helps Scientists 'See' Molecular Signals Of Eye Disease Before Symptoms Arise

May 5, 2010

BrightFocus’ Macular Degeneration Research program funded Dr. Hafezi-Moghadam for this important project.

Forget what you know about how diseases are diagnosed—new research published in the May 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal details a noninvasive ground-breaking tool that detects signs of disease at early molecular stages before symptoms can be seen using traditional methods. Even better, this tool promises to detect some eye diseases so early that they may be reversed before any permanent damage can occur. Its use may well extend to other areas of the body in the future, and this tool may also give physicians a more precise way of evaluating the effectiveness of therapies.

"Quantitative knowledge of the dynamic molecular changes in health and disease will not only advance our understanding, but also change the way medicine will be practiced in the future," said Ali Hafezi-Moghadam, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"This tool is a total game-changer: it detects inflammatory eye disease at the molecular level before damage occurs," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "Once you have symptoms, it may be too late. By then, doctors are often limited to damage control. Now in the eye, and later in other areas of the body, early detection of molecular changes by fluorescent microspheres will save lives. It should certainly change people's expectations of when treatment is indicated."

To make this discovery, Hafezi-Moghadam and colleagues combined fluorescent microspheres with molecules found on the surface of immune cells. These molecules are up-regulated early in inflammation. The scientists took this compound and combined it once more with custom-designed imaging probes. Then they used both single- and double-combined probes targeting endothelial markers in the eyes of test animals because of the eye's unique accessibility to light-based imaging. Results showed a strikingly superior sensitivity of the double-conjugated probes that allowed detection of molecules that may be expressed at very low levels, which occurs in many diseases. The imaging probes also detected activated immune cells, leading to unprecedented quantitative knowledge about immune response to disease.

Adapted from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

View all news updates for macular degeneration


Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

Twitter YouTube Facebook Shop for a Cause Pinterest Google+ Connect With Us