Scientists find on-off cell switch in eye

May 18, 2006

Boston scientists have discovered a blood vessel cell switch that controls vessel growth, opening the way for new drugs to combat eye problems.

The finding by the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, published in the current issue of The EMBO Journal, is believed capable of leading to new, better targeted drugs for diseases such as cancer, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

The researchers at Schepens, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, learned that the switch is turned on and off by the balance between two enzymes, which compete for the same lipid membrane to fulfill both growth and regression.

An important natural process, new vessel growth, or angiogenesis, restores blood flow after injury, increases circulation in a damaged heart and prepares a woman¹s body for pregnancy. But, when uncontrolled it can feed cancer tumors and damage delicate retinal tissues.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Enzyme ensures thick insulation

Related Stories

Enzyme ensures thick insulation

March 8, 2018
ETH researchers have revealed that Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system largely produce their own fatty acids in order to create electrical insulation for nerve fibres. This process relies on an enzyme whose absence ...

Genetic basis for glaucoma uncovered

January 30, 2018
In two recent publications, Northwestern Medicine scientists and international collaborators discovered mutations that cause improper drainage and a buildup of ocular pressure leading to one form of congenital glaucoma, and ...

Metabolic shifts found to cause congestive heart failure

January 24, 2018
The heart derives its energy primarily from fatty acids. However, if a metabolic shift to other energy sources takes place, this can result in congestive heart failure, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) ...

Fast food makes the immune system more aggressive in the long term

January 12, 2018
The immune system reacts similarly to a high fat and high calorie diet as to a bacterial infection. This is shown by a recent study led by the University of Bonn. Particularly disturbing: Unhealthy food seems to make the ...

3-D imaging of fat reveals potential targets for new obesity treatments

January 9, 2018
Stunning three-dimensional images of fat cells, the first of their kind, are the latest tactic in the ongoing fight against the global obesity epidemic. The above movie, produced by The Rockefeller University's Laboratory ...

Absence of transcription factor unleashes blood vessel growth

January 18, 2016
Blood vessels play an important role throughout life. Their growth determines whether organs are supplied with nutrients in a timely manner during embryonic development. In adulthood, the development of new blood vessels ...

Recommended for you

Obesity rates keep rising for U.S. adults

March 23, 2018
Obesity rates have continued to climb significantly among American adults, but the same hasn't held true for children, a new government report finds.

First proof a synthesized antibiotic is capable of treating superbugs

March 23, 2018
A "game changing" new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesised and used to treat an infection for the first time—and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years.

Bystander T cells can steal the show in resolving inflammation

March 23, 2018
In Type 1 diabetes the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing pancreatic cells, leaving patients dependent on lifelong insulin injections. The putative perpetrators of the attack—which are called ...

Brain's tiniest blood vessels trigger spinal motor neurons to develop

March 23, 2018
A new study has revealed that the human brain's tiniest blood vessels can activate genes known to trigger spinal motor neurons, prompting the neurons to grow during early development. The findings could provide insights into ...

How do we lose memory? A STEP at a time, researchers say

March 23, 2018
In mice, rats, monkeys, and people, aging can take its toll on cognitive function. A new study by researchers at Yale and Université de Montréal reveal there is a common denominator to the decline in all of these species—an ...

Analyzing past failures may boost future performance by reducing stress

March 23, 2018
Insights from past failures can help boost performance on a new task—and a new study is the first to explain why. US researchers report that writing critically about past setbacks leads to lower levels of the "stress" hormone, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.