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Inhibiting Micro-RNA to Treat Abnormal Ocular Angiogenesis


Abnormal neovascularization in the eye causes hemorrhage and functional ocular disorders and contributes to the loss of vision associated with such diseases as retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions are the leading causes of blindness.


Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in the laboratory of Dr. Shahin Rafii have discovered that microRNA inhibitory nucleic acids can regulate ocular vascularization. In particular, they developed inhibitory nucleic acids that target an endothelial cell-specific microRNA that has subsequently been shown to be involved in angiogenesis. Employing an oxygen-induced retinopathy mouse model, these scientists showed that these inhibitory compounds decreased vascularization in the neonatal retina. Since nucleic acid and protein drugs have been successfully delivered to treat various ocular diseases by injection or other means, and many back-of-the-eye delivery systems are under development, these compositions have the potential of treating eye diseases caused by abnormal blood vessel proliferation. MicroRNA has been shown to modulate the expression of more than one protein. Hence this technology offers broader therapeutic efficacy than drugs targeting only one angiogenic factor, such as VEGF.

Dan-Oscar Antsonda429@cornell.edu212-746-1297

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