Novel Cone-Specific Genes: Therapeutic Targets for MD
Vision is possible because of the abundance of specialized structures known as cone photoreceptor cells, located in the macula. Macular degeneration causes these cones to die and results in severe visual handicap and blindness in affected individuals. If a means to help cone photoreceptors live longer can be identified, this will significantly improve the quality of life of affected patients. It is likely that factors involved in the initial formation of cones during development, and products that are specifically found in cone photoreceptors, will in turn promote cone survival. Once these factors have been identified, the long-term goal will be to determine if the addition of these factors is therapeutically beneficial to humans affected by macular degeneration by slowing or preventing the onset of blindness.